NIA sleuths combing Beed, Nanded for vital leads

Detectives from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Friday launched covert search operations in Marathwada’s Beed and Nanded districts to dig out possible leads on Hyderabad blasts.

The search operation in Nanded is being carried out because two suspects, Maqbool and Imran, arrested for carrying out low-intensity explosions in Pune last year, hail from the region and Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who has reportedly confessed that guided the 26/11 terrorists, also hails from Beed.

Within hours of the Hyderabad twin blasts, a small team from the Maharashtra ATS left for the southern city to help investigators with information on the prime suspect: Indian Mujhaideen (IM) outfit.

On February 11, the ATS had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for information on four suspects: Mohammed Ahmed Zaraar alias Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal alias Imran alias Sharukh, Tehseen Akhtar Wasim Akhtar Shaikh, Assadullah Akhtar and Wakas alias Ahmed Shaikh. The squad also released sketches of the four suspected bombers to all the police stations across the country. The drawings prepared after restructuring the facial features of four persons, including the elusive Yasin Bhatkal, by gleaning the CCTV footage of July 2011 triple blast sites: Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, state Home Minister R R Patil held a marathon meeting with top state police officials early in the day.

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