Members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, who attacked the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, on December 28, 2005, had initially planned to target one of the three other places in the city, police have claimed.
Their “plan” was to kill high-profile people attending various seminars in the city and “tarnish” India’s global reputation. Their first choice was Le Méridien hotel, Sankey Road, where the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) had organised a seminar. But the plan was dropped as they could not find a suitable way to sneak into the hotel, a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.
They then decided to target PES Institute of Technology in Hosakerehalli where another seminar was scheduled. This target, too, was dropped as there was no easy escape route. The third choice was the Indian Institute of Management on Bannerghatta Road, but the accused failed to reach there on time because of traffic jam and the seminar got over, the officer said.
They found the IISc “an easy target” as it had an uncomplicated escape route and was closer to their residence in Kempapura, Hebbal, another officer, also speaking anonymously, claimed. These details, both the officers said, were revealed by Habib Mia, an accused who was brought to Bengaluru from Agartala, Tripura, last week. He is accused of helping the main accused, Noorullah Khan alias Sabahuddin, and two others flee to Bangladesh. Police said Sabahuddin, along with his friend, carried out the attack on the IISc. But one of their AK-47s got jammed and they had to throw a grenade without pulling out the trigger pin which resulted in low casualties, the second officer said.
The officer quoted Mia as saying that Sabahuddin had enrolled at a well-known college in Bengaluru. “His handlers ordered him to carry out the attack in December 2005. He did a recce and found out about a few seminars where prominent people were to take part.”
He continued, “Sabahuddin and another person, who is still at large, asked Mia to send some people to help them carry out the attack. Mia contacted his friends in Hyderabad and Tripura and sent four people.”
Who is Habib Mia?
Habib Mia was working as a plumber and auto-rickshaw driver in Agartala. He was also engaged in the business of exporting jackfruit to a small place in Bangladesh close to the Indian border. He also imported pineapples from Bangladesh and sold them in Agartala. Police said he had met Sabahuddin in a mosque. Mia agreed to help Sabahuddin when he asked him to “serve the community” and gave him money, they added. Police said soon after the IISc attack, Sabahuddin fled to Tripura where Mia arranged his travel to Bangladesh from where he escaped to Pakistan. Mia played a “key role” in helping the accused escape to Bangladesh.