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SIMI's changed tactics stumps IB

Vicky Nanjappa | July 03, 2008 19:37 IST

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Security forces have found that terrorists are difficult to interrogate and break. In the past four months, 15 key persons belonging to various outfits including the Students Islamic Movement of India were picked up from Karnataka and Indore. But getting information out of them has been difficult

While the police did manage to crack Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science attack to a large extent thanks to these arrests, they have still not made any headway in the Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ajmer and UP blast cases. The security agencies are certain that the Jaipur blasts were carried out with the assistance of SIMI. But the key question is why the investigating agencies did not get a clue regarding the Jaipur attack despite having arrested key members of SIMI a couple of months before the blasts.

The interrogation and narco analysis test conducted two weeks back at Bangalore on Dr Manroze Zema, one of the persons arrested along with SIMI chief Safdar Nagori at Indore, explains as to why it is difficult to get information out of these persons. Dr Zema, according to investigators is a key SIMI operative. He allegedly kept in touch with several youth across the nation and even supplied material including hard disks which gave bomb-making techniques.

According to Dr Zema, SIMI was a close knit outfit till recently and everything was discussed among the cadres, especially the top rung. However, in the last one and a half years, the outfit decided to tread more carefully. Hence, SIMI began briefing operatives on a need to know basis.

According to Dr Zema, not even the chief would be aware of certain operations. Orders from outfits from outside would be given to one top leader and only he would know about the operation. The role was clearly defined, 'the one taking orders would have to plan the attack and recruit members into the team. There is no hard and fast rule that the boss of the outfit should know about an attack,' Dr Zema said during interrogation.

The strategy seems to be paying off. Take for instance the Jaipur blasts of May 2008. Despite having 11 persons from the outfit in custody, none of the agencies were able to get any information before the blasts.

The Intelligence Bureau also says investigating agencies should focus more on busting terror networks than try and elicit information on past incidents.

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