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Over 20 sleeper cells in Andhra
Vicky Nanjappa in New Delhi | September 02, 2007 15:05 IST
The Hyderabad police have intensified raids on several hideouts across Andhra Pradesh.
Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com that apart from conducting raids on suspected hideouts, the police are cracking down on sleeper cells, which they believe is the main breeding ground for terrorists.
In Hyderabad alone there are 4 sleeper cells and each of the cells has at least 6 members.
In the entire state of Andhra Pradesh there are over 20 sleeper cells. Although they may remain quiet for some time now, one cannot rule out another attack in the near future, IB sources said.
Andhra Director-General of Police M A Basith is reviewing the situation personally. Although the blast was confined only to Hyderabad, the entire state of Andhra Pradesh is on high alert and the police have been detaining suspicious persons. The police also intend to intensify raids in the coastal areas of AP. They say that the Telangana and Nalgonda areas are sensitive areas and the police are on high vigil over there.
The police have also gone tough on several Bangladeshi nationals in the state and have even picked up those who have been overstaying. The police say that at least 2 Bangladeshi nationals who were overstaying have been picked up and are being interrogated. In case they do not find anything against them, then they would be deported.
The AP police, who faced a backlash for a raid conducted on a madrassas two days back, however say that this does not deter them. As a precautionary measure, such raids will have to continue and none should view this as a religious issue. "It is in the larger interest of the security of the state," the police said.
Two persons who were picked up for their alleged link in the blast were connected with a madrassa. Although the two persons claimed innocence, the interrogation would continue until the police are completely satisfied that they could be let of.
Meanwhile, the AP government is contemplating handing over the investigation of the case to the CBI. Although there is no problem in the manner in which the investigation has been conducted by the AP police, it would be better to hand over the case to the CBI, a senior government official said.
Chief Secretary Harinarayana also met CBI director Vijay Shankar in this regard. The AP government feels that it would be more feasible to hand over the case to the CBI due to jurisdiction issues. With the role of an international agency not being ruled out, it would be better if the CBI probed the case, government sources said.
The Mecca Masjid blasts, which took place in Hyderabad barely five months ago, were also handed over to the CBI for investigation.