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News updated at 2:45 AM IST

Masterminds of City blasts still at large

K V Aditya Bharadwaj Bangalore: Oct 6, 2013 2:53 IST
File photo of Bangalore blast
The three prime suspects in the Malleswaram blasts of April 17, 2013 — Police Fakruddin, Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik — may have been arrested, but Bangalore police insist the probe is “far from over” as two other “key players” are still at large.

A senior officer associated with the probe said on the condition of anonymity that the arrest of 14 people in April and May was a “breakthrough” in the sense that it “exposed” the hitherto unknown module operating in Tamil Nadu. The initial arrests helped the police to identify the module’s leaders and launch a manhunt.

The City police, during the course of investigation, had identified two more “elusive leaders” — Abubakar Siddique and Parvez Basha.

While Fakruddin was arrested in Chennai on Friday, Ismail and Malik were arrested in Puttur town of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.

Siddique and Basha remain at large. The officer called Siddique “the mystery man”. While his name did crop up in the interrogation of the arrested suspects, there was not much information about him.

Of all the men suspected

to be part of the module, Siddique is the eldest at 48 years. Even the Tamil Nadu police did not have a clue about his role in the “terror” activities or his whereabouts, the officer contended.

Bangalore police had almost closed in on Basha but he gave the slip in the nick of time. After the latest arrests, he might have slipped away from his present “hideout”.
According to a senior intelligence officer, who also insisted anonymity, the “terror” modules usually work at three levels — the foot soldiers, the planners and the conspirators and funders.

‘Only executors’

“We have been able to arrest only the executors or foot soldiers. What they have revealed is only the last leg of the terror attack and its logistics. We have been able to reconstruct only 30-40 per cent of the plot,” he said, adding that it was to be seen whether the said module had three levels.

It was also not known whether the three men now arrested were just planners who were “guided, funded and instigated by other men”, the officer said. They could be both planners and conspirators. If so, it would be a small home-grown outfit snuffed out with the arrests, he added.

Nevertheless, police are curious about their funding, ideology, influences, etc.

“What we know about this module is that it calls itself, Al Muttahid Task Force,
and that most of its members were in Al Ummah. But when was the new organisation formed? Who were its early members? We want to know,” he said.

Police also want to know whether Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, helped the regrouping of Al-Ummah.

He is said to have lived in Chennai for about a year and was almost arrested in 2011. The City police have yet to get their turn to interrogate him.

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