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Maharashtra ATS nabs 2 'Lashkar operatives' from Thane

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: November 29, 2010 20:09 IST
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Two men belonging allegedly to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba were picked up from Thane district of Maharashtra, bordering Mumbai, the Anti Terrorist Squad said on Monday.

The duo who go by the names Mohammed Shareef Makhandeen Thakkar, 33, and Mohammed Isak Mohammed Rasheed Kumlakh, 29, were picked up based on intercepts from the Intelligence Bureau by the ATS.

The ATS said that they found on the men Tokarev pistols and 13 live cartridges. Although the two men were picked up on November 15, the arrests were made official only on Monday.

The IB intercept on them suggested that two men from the Jammu and Kashmir region had slipped into Maharashtra on a specific mission to carry out surveys of important installations. Although there is nothing to show that these two men were planning an immediate attack, it has become clear that the two of them were in this state to carry out a recee.

During the interrogation of these two men it was found that they were trying to get details on military and oil installations not only in Maharashtra but also in Gujarat.

Details of the arrest and the interrogation will be shared with the Gujarat police and the latter may even seek their custody, said sources.

The IB sources said that these men apart from identifying targets also had been instructed to recruit new people into the Lashkar.

The Lashkar, which used to consider Maharashtra to be its strongest base, was losing ground post the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The IB sources warn that such incidents will be witnessed more in the days to come since there is a desperate attempt by terror outfits to regain ground in Maharashtra. Moreover, the crack down on the Pune modules of the Indian Mujahideen too has been a set back for the Lashkar which primarily runs this outfit.

The two arrested men were working as oil tanker drivers in the area. They were working undercover and were picking up details of new installations as well as people to recruit.

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Vicky Nanjappa