As the Bengaluru police continue to probe youths arrested for alleged links to terror outfits and plotting to assassinate several politicians and journalists in Karnataka, the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is coming to the fore.
The ISI is linked to the case and the role of HuJI cannot be ruled out, say the city police. Bangladesh's premier military agency -- the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence -- monitors the operations of the HuJI. And in the broader sense the HuJI and the DGFI are all creations of the ISI, say investigators.
However, the biggest challenge the police now face in the case is to get access to handlers of the arrested youths, who they suspect are based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. For this, they would need assistance of the Interpol.
"The Interpol has demanded more proof in the matter and at the moment with the amount of evidence available it is difficult to go ahead and act on this case. If an operation has been conducted in Saudi Arabia its authorities need sufficient proof before they provide access to any suspects there," said a police officer investigating the case.
The arrested youths would take instructions from their handler in Saudi Arabia. However, the name of the handler has been kept under wraps as it could hamper investigation, a police source said.
Sources point out that currently the police is working to the case on the basis of interrogation reports and some confessional statements by the arrested youths. The visits to the houses of the youths who have been arrested have not provided much evidence, although it may be argued that the probe is at a preliminary stage. Moreover, there are reports suggesting that the terror plot included a strike during Ganeshotsav, an attack on a nuclear plant and other important installations. However, the police say that these are not confirmed angles and just part of a wider probe.
What they are certain about is that there was an assassinations plot to target Hindu leaders and journalists. While in Karnataka, an MLA and journalists were on the hitlist of the terror groups, they were planning to target corporators in Hyderabad.
The police are keeping central agencies and the home ministry in the loop regarding this case. However, sources in the central intelligence say that there is more that needs to be done.
There are various aspects to this case, which need to be probed further to get clarity of the involvement of international terrorists; only then can the Interpol be approached. "We need to give incriminating evidence and just confessions are not good enough," sources point out. It has been alleged that a large part of the plot was hatched in Hubli, Karnataka, but the police have still not managed to get enough details from there.
Three more arrested
Meanwhile, the police have nabbed three more persons in connection with this plot. While two are from Chickmagalur and Bijapur one was caught while trying to flee Bengaluru. The police say that 22-year-old Mohammad Akram, a resident of Nanded, was nabbed while trying to leave the city.
NIA team in Bengaluru
Keeping the mind the countrywide ramification of the case, a team of the National Investigation Agency is in the city. The team is coordinating with the Bengaluru police and is also involved in the questioning of the arrested youths. Officials say that they are only studying the case while the local police is doing bulk of the job. "We are seeing whether the case has an inter-state ramification and after that has been ascertained we will go deeper into the probe," said an NIA official.