Mumbai cops reach TN to trace terrorist's roots

“They are probing his (Rasheed) background as they have some doubts,” a top police official in Madurai told Deccan Herald  on Wednesday.

However, the officer declined to divulge further details considering the sensitivity of the case and added that “investigation is on.”

While Rasheed is said to have visited his native place in Tamil Nadu three months ago, sources said he used to come here to meet his mother Fathima.

However, the team found the house in Sandai Pettai locality  locked. They made inquiries about Rasheed whose father is now said to be in Qatar. The team also visited Tirupattur where Rasheed’s mother was believed to have gone to a relative’s place.

Police said Rasheed had obtained two passports, one from  Tiruchirappalli regional passport office, but were not sure from where he managed to get the other one, apparently a fake.  This is notwithstanding the disclosure made by Home Minister P Chidambaram in Delhi that Rasheed was already under RAW surveillance.

Another dreaded terrorist of the 1990s, Imam Ali had also lived in Melur area and hence the team is also investigating the angle whether Rasheed had any links with the former in the past.

Imam Ali, a member of the banned All India Jihad Committee and a key accused in the RSS office bomb blast case in Chennai in 1993, was allegedly trained by Pakistan’s ISI.
Imam Ali had escaped twice from police custody in Tamil Nadu in the past and was finally killed in an encounter along with four of his associates in Bangalore in September 2002.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Tuesday, to a reporter’s query at a news conference here, had said the Central government had not yet shared any inputs on Rasheed with the state police.  

Mother swears by son’s innocence
Later on Wednesday, Fathima, mother of the terror suspect Mohammed Niaz Abdul Rasheed, told reporters in Madurai that her son had no links with any religious fundamentalist or extremist organisation.  Fathima said Rasheed, an engineer, had last come down to their home in Tamil Nadu in January this year and stayed there for 15 days. “The only difference that cropped up between him and us (family) was when he was insistent to marry a girl in France who my son came to know through Internet,” Fathima said, adding, Rasheed subsequently married the same girl. She said two immigration officials had earlier come to their house in Melur, checked his passport, found nothing wrong and had left. They did not produce identity cards when asked. She said Niaz had stayed with the family in Karimedu here till 2005.

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