The probe by the Bengaluru [ Images ] police in coordination with the special cell of the Delhi [ Images ] police has revealed that the team of 10 persons from the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] had split into two groups to carry out a series of operations in Karnataka [ Images ]. The police had busted the module earlier in the day.
The journalist, Muthiur Rehman, Ejaz Mirza, a research scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation and three others were assigned with the task of killing a few journalists in Bengaluru.
The other five who were arrested from Hubli were tasked with the job of killing politicians in Karnataka. A 9 mm pistol and a hard drive have been seized from the arrested.
The hard drive, which is still being examined by the police, is said to contain some important material and belongs to Rehman.
Sources say that the operation was being looked into by handlers in Saudi Arabia and these persons were in constant touch with them regarding the operation. Although their operation looks very Karnataka-specific at the moment, the police want to find out if this group had connections outside the state as well.
The Delhi police is likely to seek a transit remand of these persons and take them in for questioning.
Although the police have said that they have been arrested in connection with these assassination plots, they are also looking to find out if this group had planned more subversive activities in other parts of the state of Karnataka and the rest of the country.
The police say that they were targetting personalities including journalists who they perceived to be anti-Islamic.
"They were gathering material against these persons, and were monitoring their speeches and articles. Only after this a hit list was been drawn out," said an official.
The police will also look for clues with regard to the recent panic SMS campaign after the Assam riots. A police official said that this group has been in Karnataka for a long time.
But the fact that the arrested persons have a journalist and a research scientist among them, indicates that the perpetrators needed educated persons in the plot, as they wanted to ensure that the operation was foolproof and deadly.