'Abu Hamza' surfaces in Bangalore module probe
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A man identified as 'the professor' in the recent probe into a group of youths with alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba links held from Bangalore, Hubli, Hyderabad and Nanded has been identified by investigators as Abdul Bari alias Abu Hamza. The 50-year-old is wanted in India for a decade now for attacks dating back to the November 21, 2002, blast at Hyderabad's Dilsukhnagar Sai Baba temple.
Believed to be based in Saudi Arabia, Bari was a key figure in the alleged plot to recruit young Muslims in the four cities to attack right-wing elements, probe by the Bangalore police and National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed. The former Hyderabad resident is identified in police records as a Lashkar handler with ISI links.
Though not named in the NIA's preliminary chargesheet filed in the February 20 arrest of the youths, Bari figures among the 23 other accused in the alleged terror plot. Accused No. 16 in the "Bangalore terror module" case is identified as "Mohammed Bhai alias Abu Hamza". Sources in the Bangalore police, Andhra Pradesh Police and NIA confirmed that he was the same as Bari, wanted in the Hyderabad blast of 2002 that killed two people.
Bari's name figures frequently in terrorism incidents that followed the Sai Baba temple blast as well, including the Ghatkopar, Mumbai, bus blast of December 2002 (killing two) and the blast in Vile Parle, Mumbai, of January 2003 (in which one died).
In the present case, Bari is accused of being among the main motivators encouraging Muslims to take up jihad — specifically Mohammed Shaheed Faisal alias Zaki, 29 (Bangalore); Mohammed Akram, 24 (Nanded); Obaid ur Rehman, 22 (Hyderabad); and Dr Usman Ghane, 32 (Hubli). While Akram and Rehman have been arrested, the other two are suspected to be in Saudi Arabia.
The alleged LeT links of the module are also under investigation following the February 21 blasts in Hyderabad.
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