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Key IM operative gives cops the slip, flees India
Vicky Nanjappa
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October 06, 2008 09:45 IST

Investigations into the antecedents and role played by the Indian Mujahideen [Images] in the serial blasts in the country are likely to hit a dead end with another major player of the outfit giving investigating agencies the slip and fleeing the country.

In India, we don't catch terrorists

Riaz Bhatkal, a key operative of the IM who was in charge of funding terror activities, has reportedly left for Dubai, according to sources in the Intelligence Bureau.

Riaz, who is originally a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was one of the main agents of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in India before taking active part in the operations of the IM.

His main job was to fund terror operations and organize funds for the same. Investigating agencies say that he had organized funds for the recent spate of bombings and his name had first cropped up in the Mumbai train blasts when one of the accused confessed to Riaz funding the operation.

Riaz, who travelled across the country extensively, had come to Bhatkal to meet his family. The Western Range police had said that the main reason for him to come to his hometown was to see his new born daughter. However, after investigations were stepped up, Riaz slipped out of Karnataka and later India.

IB sources say Riaz could have slipped away to Dubai. Prior to sneaking out of the country he had taken shelter in Ullal in coastal Karnataka.

Karnataka Police had launched a massive manhunt for this man with the Mumbai cops but their search yielded no results. The police say that from Ullal, he could have moved into Kerala [Images] and then out of the country.

Nabbing Riaz would have been crucial to the investigations as he is supposed to have had a lot of information on the working of the IM.

Immediately after the serial blasts at Bangalore, Ahmedabad [Images] and Delhi [Images], the police came to the conclusion that the entire operation was masterminded by Abdul Subhan. However, this man managed to give the slip and took the Nepal route and entered into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Following this, the police pinned their hopes on Abdul Sami, a SIMI [Images] operative from Karnataka who was arrested in connection with the Bangalore blasts. He is said to have been close to Subhan.

However, Sami was a tough nut to crack and interrogations conducted on him have given the police very little to smile about. The police are now planning to subject him to scientific tests in order to elicit information out of him.

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