NIA seeks case of 18 youths with terror links
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The National Investigation Agency has sought Karnataka government nod to take over the terror case probe in which 18 youths across three states with alleged LeT-HuJI links have been arrested so far. The case was registered in Bangalore in August.
Between August 29 and September 3, the Bangalore police had arrested 14 youths from Bangalore, Hubli, Hyderabad, and Nanded for allegedly using LeT, HuJI links to plot attacks on local right wing leaders across the four cities. The move was based on surveillance and intelligence inputs provided by Andhra Pradesh counter intelligence unit. Following these arrests, the Maharashtra ATS arrested four youths in Nanded.
Anticipating the state government's approval, NIA officials held meetings with senior Bangalore police officials in the last few days especially since the probe has spread into Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The move is likely to bring NIA into the picture in a case in Karnataka for the first time.
The NIA is entering the probe at a time when police have discovered links between Obaid ur Rehman, one of the arrested youths, and Sayeed Maqbool, a man linked to the Indian Mujahideen terror outfit. Maqbool was arrested by the Delhi police on September 26 for his alleged role in the August 1, 2012 Pune bomb blasts.
Police have found that Maqbool was in touch with Rehman, a 24-year-old Hyderabad native, through a little-known outfit Indian Muslim Mohammadin Mujahidin (IMMM). They found that Maqbool has been a member of IMMM even since it was founded in 1999 in Hyderabad by Azam Ghauri and its objective was to eliminate local right wing persons. Ghauri, allegedly linked to LeT, was killed in police encounter in Andhra Pradesh in 2000.
Maqbool relinked with IMMM in 2009 after a nine-year term in jail. Police sources said three of the arrested youths in the Bangalore case — Rehman (24), Mohammed Akram (22) from Nanded, and Abdul Majeed (24) from Hyderabad — are linked to each other and to Maqbool through IMMM. The NIA will further probe the links between IMMM and the arrested youths. It will also approach the Interpol to issue red corner notices against five persons including the four believed to be hiding in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
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