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Suspected militant went to Pakistan for training

Official says the suspected militant has been asked to monitor IT firms' offices in Bangalore.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2007 19:05 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

A suspected militant, arrested by the Bangalore police on Friday, had received arms training in Pakistan and had been asked to monitor IT firms' offices in Bangalore, a top police official said on Saturday.

"Our interrogation of the accused has revealed that he is known as Bilal Ahmed Kota alias Imran Jalal alias Salim (34) and was a resident of Sadarbal, Hazratbal in Srinagar," Bangalore Police Commissioner N Achuta Rao told reporters.

"His father Shamsuddin is a clerk in a private transport firm and his brother Hilal Ahmed (29) a driver in the food and civil supplies corporation, government of Jammu & Kashmir," he said.

According to a preliminary probe by a special investigation team, the accused went to Pakistan in 2005 and met top insurgents with alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) links.

It was then that he was given a satellite phone and asked to wait for instructions, police said.

"Bilal was asked to visit the offices of Wipro and Infosys as well as the Bangalore airport to find out security arrangements at these places and to report back. The mode of communication between Bilal and his superiors was through the sat phone and e-mail," Rao said.

In November 2006, Bilal was instructed by his Pakistan-based masters to go to Pune and collect a consignment of arms and ammunition. Though he went to Pune on three-four occasions, it was only during his last trip that he received the weapons from an operative called "Rajesh". He returned to Hospet, about 350 km from Bangalore.

After sustained interrogation that concluded on Saturday morning, Bilal was taken to Hampi by a police team to inspect the rented house he was staying in. A raid on his shop and house led to the seizure of one AK-56, 200 rounds of ammunition, five hand grenades, two magazines of AK-56 and a satellite phone charger.

"A month after returning from Pune with arms and ammunition, Bilal was instructed to take the consignment to Bangalore and await further orders. On his arrival in Bangalore, he was intercepted by the city crime branch sleuths and taken into custody," Rao said.

Bilal was not knew to Karnataka, as he had come to Bangalore in 1991 and got admitted to a diploma course in computer science at Acharya Polytechnic in Peenya. After completing the course in 1994, he went back to Jammu and Kashmir and worked as a supervisor in a cigarette distributor's office.

"As per his statement, Bilal joined the JKLF (Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front) in 1990 and went for arms training to Muzzaffarabad in Pakistan occupiedKashmir.

In 2002, he came to Hampi, a world tourist heritage site near Hospet in north Karnataka, on the invitation of his cousin Fiaz Ahmed Bhat who owned a costume jewellery shop there. Since then, he has made frequent visits to Bangalore and Srinagar, Rao said.

Bilal has been remanded to police custody for two weeks for further investigations.

"With the timely arrest of Bilal, we have averted a possible terror strike in the city. We are in touch with our counterparts in Maharashtra, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir to gather more information on the terror network," Rao said.

First Published: Jan 06, 2007 19:05 IST