Bengaluru cops bust gang linked to banned outfit

Bengaluru cops bust gang linked to banned outfit

Representative image

Karnataka police have uncovered a plot to foment communal disturbances in Bengaluru, Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country by former members of banned outfit Al-Ummah.

Joint investigations by officials from the Central Crime Branch (CCB), Internal Security Division (ISD) and State Intelligence Wing have revealed that former Al-Ummah activists wanted to form a splinter group and were meeting at the house of Mehaboob Pasha, 45, one of the kingpins, in Sudduguntepalya, off BTM Layout, in Bengaluru. 

A police inspector in CCB has filed a complaint under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Pasha and 14 of his associates with the Suddaguntepalya police. 

Efforts are on by the joint team to nab Pasha, who is suspected to be in Chamarajanagar district. 

Sandeep Patil, JCP, Crime, said, “Pasha was one of the members of the gang of which three persons were arrested on January 7 from Suddaguntepalya.”

Patil said Pasha had around “14 associates and they were in contact with a foreign handler and planning to create disturbances”.

“They were also procuring weapons. Some of the accused persons are already involved in many crimes in Tamil Nadu. A few of them are in the custody of Chennai and Delhi police,” said an officer.

On the trail

The police learnt about the new group based on a few communal murders reported in Tamil Nadu, including in Chennai, Salem and other places.

After Al-Ummah was banned, the members decided to form their own organisation, which is yet to be named. They are spread across Delhi, Mumbai, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru.

According to a senior police officer, Pasha was working as a driver and carpenter in the city. All the members of the gang used to gather at his house and plan their crimes.

A senior officer said the gang wanted to kill random persons from other communities, mainly Hindus, to create fear and communal violence.

Pasha’s house was used largely for planning and sometimes to store weapons used in crimes at other places. Another house linked to the gang is located near Vivek Nagar. Pasha and others were in regular touch with a foreign handler, who is suspected to be in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

“We are yet to find out where exactly the handler is located,” another senior officer said.

In the first week of January, Tamil Nadu Police got in touch with the CCB and ISD of Karnataka seeking their help in arresting the members of the gang.

Mohammed Haneef Khan 29, Imran Khan, 32, and Mohammed Zaid, 24, were arrested on January 7 from Sudduguntepalya. The trio are in judicial custody in Chennai. During interrogation of the trio, the police learnt about Pasha and others. Another main accused Moin Khaja is also at large.

Members of the gang are involved in the murders of Hindu Munnani members in TN. They had killed KPS Suresh Kumar alias Pandi Suresh in 2014.

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