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Salman's arrest another big catch: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa
March 08, 2010 21:08 IST
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The terror jigsaw is becoming clearer with the arrest of Salman, an operative of the dreaded Indian Mujahideen. He has echoed the statements of the security agencies who said the IM benefited the most from the heat that was on the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Salman, being interrogated by various agencies, told the police that the IM had planned to "come back with a bang. He said they were plotting to undertake more attacks in India, but had slowed down in their process for the want of manpower.

A core team of the Indian Mujahideen had been arrested last year following a series of blasts that rocked the country. Sources told Salman is being questioned about the Pune blasts and also on where all the recruiting of new cadres is taking place.

During his interrogation, Salman further went on to state that he had joined the IM in 2005. At that point of time the outfit was just being built and none of the Indian agencies had a clue about the outfit.

He says the SIMI had split into two factions, the moderate and the non-moderate one which was headed by Safdar Nagori. He also said that the IM had branched out of the Nagori faction of the SIMI.

The Intelligence Bureau says Salman is a big catch. He knows a lot of the inside working of the IM and he has been playing an active part in its activities. His name had first cropped up during the Batla House encounter. He had, however, managed to give the police the slip along with his other accomplice, Shahzad who too is in the custody of the Delhi police.

Salman was barely 16 when he joined the IM. Given his age, he was nicknamed Chotu and he has been a trusted aide of the outfit. He was in the know of all the serial blasts, but is alleged to have played a major role in the Delhi blasts.

He says during his interrogation that everything was going well for the IM until the arrests the previous year. The IM had used technology to the maximum with its IT module and in the years to come was planning on more spectacular attacks. He said that the shortage of manpower became a problem and they were finding it hard to get dedicated people. However in the past 6 months, the IM had gone on a spree recruiting cadres.

Speaking of his role in the Delhi blasts, Salman said he had fled first to Uttar Pradesh and then slipped into Nepal. During this period he had also visited Pakistan and other countries in the UAE.

It was in Pakistan that he met up with the IM leadership including Riyaz Bhatkal and Amir Reza Khan. During that meeting he was specifically told to focus more on recruiting youth since the IM modules needed to be rebuilt as it had to completely replace Pakistan based groups for India based operations.

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