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IB nets HuJI's south India commander

January 18, 2010 14:43 IST

The Hyderabad police has in its custody a man who can help unravel the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami and its operations in south India. The Intelligence Bureau in an undercover operation picked up Muhammad Amjad alias Khwaja from Chennai in the wee hours of Sunday and brought him to Hyderabad.

Khwaja is now being interrogated by the Hyderabad police along with IB sleuths. Sources told that Khwaja is a self styled commander of the HuJI and had concentrated largely on operations in south India. The police say that he is likely to have information on the manner in which the HuJI had masterminded the Hyderabad twin blasts in 2007 since it has been established that HuJI was behind the blasts. The IB also suspects that Khwaja had a role in the Ajmer blasts in 2008. The IB says that there was a Interpol red corner alert against him after he masterminded the blast at the Special Task Force office at Hyderabad in 2005.

Police and the IB are also hoping to get information on mystery terror operative Shahid Bilal, a key member of the HuJI, who was reportedly killed in Pakistan two years ago. Both Khwaja and Bilal were extremely close and rose in the ranks of the HuJI together. Both belonged to Moosrambagh in Hyderabad and left the city together. They were both trained in the Chittagong forests in Bangladesh and were later sent to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for further training.

Khwaja was based in Bangladesh but continued to mobilise cadres to carry out strikes especially in the southern part of India. His primary target was Bengaluru, sources say. The Bengaluru police say that they are yet to get more information on Khwaja and in due course of time, they will seek his custody if required.

Khwaja shuttled between Bangladesh and Pakistan and following the death of Bilal was made head of operations for HuJI in south India. It was a mission pertatining to India that made him visit Chennai. He was planning to come into Hyderabad from Chennai before he was apprehended by the IB.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru