The Central Crime Branch police have busted a terror plot and arrested 11 members with alleged links with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji). The arrested include a scientist from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and a journalist of a leading English daily – both from Bangalore – who along with the others arrested were preparing to eliminate political leaders and journalists at the behest of their handlers from Saudi Arabia.
Of the 11 arrested, six are Bangalore and five from Hubli, operating from two separate modules – the Hubli one to target politicians and the Bangalore one to target journalists.
City police commissioner BG Jyotiprakash Mirji said the two terror modules were busted after monitoring their movements over the past three months.
Preliminary investigations revealed that these were terror modules with international links and the police now suspect that several such modules may be existing in Karnataka and other parts of the country. This is now being investigated and the police expect several leads to emerge on interrogating the 11.
Mirji said in separate operations a team of police on Wednesday picked up Shoib Ahmed Mirza alias Chotu, a charted accountant aged 25 and his brother Ajaz Ahmed Mirza, 25, who worked as junior research scientist in DRDO, Abdulla alias Abdul Hakim Jamadaar, 25, Mohammed Yusuf Nalband, 28, Riyaz Ahmed Byahatti, 28 and Mati-ur-Rahman Siddiqui (journalist), 26. All were residing in a rented house in Munireddypalya in the RT Nagar area of Bangalore.
The police confiscated laptops, mobiles and a foreign-made 7.65 mm pistol with seven live cartridges from them.
An official involved in the investigations said accused Shoib alias Chotu, was trained in Pakistan by the LeT. The accused had also planned a terror attack in the IT city at the time of Ganesh Festival and they have already stolen and purchased a few bikes and four-wheelers for their operations.
This group was planning to eliminate a columnist of a Kannada newspaper and the editor-in-chief of the same newspaper (both residing in Bangalore) and had even conducted several reconnaissance and surveillance operations on their movements.
The Bangalore module members had allegedly also stolen a few vehicles to carry out their reconnaissance and surveillance of their targets and were caught in the nick of time, sources in the department said.
Meanwhile, another team of CCB officials nabbed members of the Hubli terror module who were shadowing politicians. The five arrested in Hubli have been identified as Obedulla Imran Bahadur alias Sameer alias Imran, 24, Mohammed Sadiq Lakshkar alias Raju, 28, Waahid Hussain alias Saahil, 26, Baba alias Mehaboob, 26, and Dr Jaffar Iqbal Sholapur, 27. Unlike their counterparts in Bangalore, the Hubli terror module members were picked up from various locations in Hubli.
Mirji said the arrests were the culmination of a three-month-long operation of the CCB which monitored the movement of the members of both the terror modules closely and picked them to avert averting a major terror attack.
The accused have been booked under 120 B , 153 B, 307, 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Unlawful Assembly And Arms Act, Mirji said, adding that a case has been booked against all the 11 members in Basaveshwaranagar police station in Bangalore.
“Although we have been unable to establish their involvement in previous terror attacks, we are investigating to ascertain their role in circulating hate SMSes/MMSes which triggered the exodus of people from the northeast in the city,” Mirji said.
He said the police, on a tip-off, began collecting details about the accused persons and arrested them before they could launch their attack. “Preliminary investigations have revealed that the accused are members of international terrorist outfits and they have spread their links in Karnataka and other states,” he said.