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Delhi cops pick terror threads in Manipal

Vicky Nanjappa | September 23, 2008 02:42 IST

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Investigations into the blasts at New Delhi [Images] turned to South India on Monday with the police bringing down Mohammad Saif, an accused in the case to Manipal, a town in coastal Karnataka.

While the Delhi Police look for clues regarding explosives used in the blasts, another interesting point that has come out in the open is regarding a place called Suratkal being a transit point for the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India.

Intelligence Bureau officials told that Suratkal, a small town between Mangalore and Manipal, was used as a transit point by several SIMI [Images] activists.

Riazuddin Nasir, SIMI activist arrested in Northern Karnataka earlier this year, had confessed that the bombs were manufactured in Hubli and later transported to various parts of the country. Police now feel that some bombs could have been transported through Suratkal.

Moreover investigations have also revealed that Adnan, another SIMI activist who was arrested in Indore had operated extensively out of Suratkal and Manipal.

Nasir too, during his interrogation, had revealed that they had planned on attacking Goa [Images] and the Suratkal route was being used to transport the bombs.

IB sources further say that activists had initially chosen northern Karnataka as their hub, but over the years had moved into the coastal region. They had planned on forming a terror corridor in Karnataka and the places that they had in mind included Udupi, Suratkal and Manipal.

These belts are known as the education capitals of Karnataka and SIMI thought that it would be best for them to operate out of here too.

Safdar Nagori, whose brainchild was the Indian Mujahideen [Images], had constantly stressed on the need to recruit more and more educated youth into the outfit.

SIMI felt that concentrating on the above mentioned belts would make their recruitment process easier considering the number of students that come here to study from all across the country.

On Monday, the Delhi police with a hope of finding more clues brought Mohammad Saif to Manipal. It is believed that Saif who was doing his correspondence from a college in Manipal had also stayed there for a brief while before the Delhi blasts.

The police suspect that Saif could have attended training camps in the area and also could have transported the bombs from this place.

Although investigating officers remained tight lipped on the progress of the case, it seems as though they have managed to pick up information regarding the persons who had provided logistics in the Delhi blasts case.

During their brief stay in Manipal, Asif was taken to various places, including a hotel, where he is believed to have stayed at. They also took him to a public call office from where he is believed to have made several calls. The police suspect that he could have made calls regarding this case from the PCO.

Earlier, there were reports that a person working in a PCO had been picked up in connection with the case. However, Praveen Powar, Superintendent of Police, Udupi denied this and said that only investigations have been conducted.

Following the terror trail into Manipal, a hub of student activity, a directive has been issued to all colleges and hotels to keep a tab on the students who study and stay in Manipal.

The police say that there is an influx of students from across the country and other countries and hence security has to be tight at all times.

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