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Probe into Mumbai blasts leads south
George Iype in Kochi |
September 02, 2003 15:31 IST
Investigations into the bomb blasts in Mumbai in recent months have led intelligence and police officers to probe two key suspects from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
While a Kerala police team is on the lookout for aeronautical engineer C A M Basheer, the Karnataka police on Tuesday arrested Mohammed Fahim, a resident of Hyderabad, in Bangalore.
Basheer, former president of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India, hails from Aluva in Kerala. Police say Basheer now operates from Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Fahim, who the police picked up from Bangalore airport, works as an electrician in Dubai.
"Our information is that Basheer and Fahim are friends. We believe both of them have definite links with the blasts in Mumbai," a senior police officer in Kerala told rediff.com
The interrogation of Fahim would shed more light about the fugitive Basheer's operations, the police officer said.
One week after the twin blasts in Mumbai that killed 52 people, the intelligence agencies and the police departments of Maharashtra, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are jointly investigating many leads, though the Mumbai police arrested four people in connection with the explosions on Monday.
The day after the blast on August 25, police intelligence claims residents of Aluva -- formerly Alwaye -- spotted Basheer. Before the local police could arrest him, Basheer is said to have disappeared.
Police say Fahim arrived from Mumbai on August 26, the day after the blasts. He said he was on his way to Dubai; the police suspect that Basheer and Fahim were in Mumbai on the day of the blasts.
According to the police, who have sent a detailed dossier on Basheer to the Intelligence Bureau, the former SIMI president wanted SIMI activists to be trained by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence.
Basheer, who studied at the UC College, Aluva, joined the Aeronautical Engineering College, Chalakudy in Kerala. He later worked at Mumbai's Sahar international airport as an aeronautical engineer.
In 1990, Basheer quit his job and became a full-time SIMI activist. The next year, he organised an All India SIMI convention at the Bandra Reclamation grounds in northwest Mumbai, attended by more than 10,000 people. Among the 'special invitees' to the conference were reportedly Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatist leader Amir Azim and Khalistani terrorist Lal Singh.
Police say Basheer was kept under surveillance after the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai.
"Our suspicions about Basheer grew because soon after the (1993) blasts, he fled to the Gulf. He is not very active in SIMI these days, but has close links with other Islamic groups, perhaps even terrorist outfits," the Kerala police officer pointed out.
His family at Aluva, whom the police have interrogated many times, say they are not in touch with Basheer. The family says Basheer never comes to Kerala and they have no idea if he is alive or not.
The Intelligence Bureau, who is interrogating Fahim, expects he will spill the beans about Basheer's operations. "We believe Basheer has floated two Islamic organisations in the Gulf. These outfits are giving funds to Muslim organisations across the country. Even the blasts could be part of the deal," the police officer felt.