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Bangalore assassination plot: Absconding accused, tepid probe

By Vicky Nanjappa
February 21, 2013 13:39 IST
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The probe into the assassination plan against certain right-wing political leaders and journalists, allegedly hatched by some Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives, seems to have fizzled out.

The Bangalore police, which had unearthed the assassination plot, had claimed that the case would have nation-wide ramifications as the LeT members had planned to assassinate targets in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Though the police had named 25 accused, only 15 of them have been arrested and 12 have been charge-sheeted.

Journalist Mathi-ur-Rehman and scientist Ejaz Ahmed Mirza were accused of being part of the conspiracy. But the National Investigation Agency, which took over the case, has not been able to find any evidence against them.

NIA officials have sought more time to investigate the case.

“We need to look further to get more concrete evidence and leads. So, we have sought more time,” one of them said.

NIA officials claim that they have sizeable evidence against two other accused -- Dr Zafar and Chotu. The investigators, who managed to get access to the tourist visas of the two accused, found that they had visited Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Pakistan, Dr Zafar and Chotu allegedly met some members of the Inter Services Intelligence to draw up a plan to target right-wing leaders and journalists in India, in order to cause communal disturbances in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

According to the NIA, of the 25 accused in the case, ten are still absconding, including prime accused Zakir Ustaad. Investigators believe that the absconding accused have fled the country and the plot’s mastermind Ustaad is currently in Saudi Arabia.

NIA officials claim that Ustaad acted as the coordinator between the accused youth and operatives of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami and the LeT in Saudi Arabia.

“We have managed to ascertain the modus operandi to a large extent. We are trying to find out how they raised funds for the operation. The accused may have been planning to steal vehicles and also indulge in extortion and dacoity,” said the NIA official.

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