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Maha ATS probing Indian Mujahideen-underworld nexus

May 26, 2010 19:40 IST

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which arrested Pune blast prime suspect Abdul Samad Bhatkal, is probing the possible nexus between underworld and terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) in the case. Though Abdul, an alleged IM member, is the prime suspect in the Pune blast case, the ATS on Monday has booked and arrested him in a 2009 illegal firearms case in which three aides of fugitive gangster Chhota Shakeel, a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, were already arrested.

Abdul was remanded in police custody till June one in the firearms case, in which the ATS had arrested three Shakeel's men -- Haji Imran, Suleiman Mehmood and Afzal Shaikh -- on August 5, 2009.

"Abdul was suspected to have engineered the blast. At the same time, he was also wanted in the firearms case and hence he was arrested in this case...," said an ATS official on condition of anonymity. "In the firearms case, it is clearly established that Abdul had underworld links since he had supplied arms to three Chhota Shakeel's men. Now the question before us is whether the underworld has any links in the Pune blast...," the official added.

"We would show Abdul under arrest at appropriate time in the Pune blast case," the official said. Ever since the blast at German Bakery in Pune that killed 17 persons on February 13, ATS has strongly suspected that it was handiwork of the IM following which it worked in that direction to connect the missing dots, officials said.

The police have also claimed that Abdul had exchanged 15 telephone calls with his aides a week before the blast but after that he did not use phone.The officials had yesterday also claimed that Abdul was seen near the eatery a fortnight before the explosion.

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