Following the information that members from the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi) were planning to assassinate Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Maharashtra police have decided to enhance his security as he is currently in Solapur to attend some local functions. As the police recently seized a huge cache of explosive materials from two Solapur-based Simi members and four others still on the loose, the threat assumes high significance.
On October 1 this year, six Simi operatives had fled from a prison in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh (MP). Later, the police had managed to nab two of them, including senior member Abu Faisal alias doctor. Interrogation of Faisal by the MP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officials had revealed that they were planning assassinate BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
According to the Maharashtra ATS sources, Faisal had also told MP police that his men had taken shelter in Solapur and had brought a bag containing explosive materials with them. The MP police, along with the Maharashtra ATS, had then raided the Karnik Nagar residence of Simi sympathiser Umar Dandodi on December 24.
“We had assisted the MP police in this operation and had seized 71 gelatine sticks, 108 detonators, one pistol and seven round of bullets from Umar’s residence. The material was kept for safe custody. Another Simi member, Sadiq Ahmed Lunje, a DTP operator who had helped in making fake identity cards for the escaped Simi members, was also held by MP police from Solapur,” deputy commissioner of police, ATS, NC Reddy told dna.
The MP police had communicated to the Maharashtra police that the group had plans to eliminate Modi and Shinde. “Shinde currently being in Solapur and four Simi members still out of police’s radar, the threat cannot be ruled out. We are looking for the absconding Simi members in Akola, Amravati, Jalgaon and Solapur areas of Maharashtra. They can also seek a hideout in Bijapur, Gulbarga and Belgaum in neighbouring Karnataka,” said another ATS officer.
“An advisory was received from the DGP office that adequate precaution should be taken for Shinde’s security. He has Z-plus security cover. He had arrived in the city on Saturday and would be here for two days as he is attending local programmes. Solapur is also his home constituency,” said Pradip Raskar, commissioner of police, Solapur.
In 2011, Faisal who has links with Indian Mujahideen (IM), was first arrested by the MP police from Mumbai. People in this group are ex-Simi members and are involved in a spate of robberies in MP. “Since 2012, his group has been trying to set up their base in Maharashtra and are active in Aurangabad, Jalna and Buldhana,” said a senior ATS officer.
On the loose
On October 1 this year, six Simi operatives had fled from a prison in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. Later, the police had managed to nab two of them, including senior member Abu Faisal alias doctor. Interrogation of Faisal by the Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had revealed that they were planning assassinate Narendra Modi and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.