Terrorists may have planned Lahore-like attack on Nashik: ATS

A terror strike probably similar to that of the 2009 Lahore Police Academy attack was planned on the three establishments as per instructions from LeT handlers in Pakistan, an senior ATS official said. "The Deolali camp, Maharashtra Police Academy and Police Commissionerate in Nashik were on the hit list of Shaikh alias Bilal," the official said.

"There may have been a plan of an attack similar to that of terror strike on Lahore Police Academy," the official said on condition of anonymity. On May 30 last year, heavily armed terrorists stormed a police academy near Lahore, killing at least 27 policemen in an eight-hour siege that ended with four terrorists being shot dead and six captured alive by security forces. Bilal, arrested for allegedly preparing for terror strikes in Maharashtra last week, was staying in Nashik with two fake identities and conducted recce of these three locations since May as per the instructions of his aide Mirza Himayat Baig, held in connection with Pune blast, the official said. "Baig was directed to select these targets by LeT handlers in Pakistan," the official said. The fake identities assumed by 27-year-old Bilal were Amin Manik Parekh and Sutar Iqbal. He was arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act from Nashik. During his stay in Nashik, Bilal was working as CNC lathe machine operator in Satpur industrial area and used to work in shifts, the official said.

"Whenever Bilal had leisure time, he visited these places a number of times to get details as what is the area of the targets, how many exit and entry points they have etc," the official said. They were in the 'early stage' of the terror plan, the official said, adding photographs of these targets were also seized from them. According to the ATS, Bilal had visited LeT camps in Pakistan between January 2008 and early 2010 where he received advanced training in use of sophisticated weapons and making bombs. He had sneaked into India thrice during the period through the Bangladesh and Nepal borders.

In January, Baig along with Mohsin Choudhary and Mohammad Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin, alleged IM members, had held a conspiracy meeting at his Gold internet cafe in Udgir in Latur district to select their targets and German bakery was chosen as it was frequented by foreigners. Baig was also in contact with Zaibuddin Ansari, an alleged LeT member wanted in 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, the ATS said. When asked if Ansari was the person, who allegedly spoke over satellite phone to the terrorists at Chabad House in Colaba during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to motivate them, the ATS said it was not yet clear. "We do not have voice samples of Ansari to match with satellite phone conversation by a handler in Pakistan with the terrorists struck here. It is not right to say that both are same," the official said. Sources said Baig, who had received Rs 2.50 lakh after his bomb making training in Sri Lanka's Colombo, was also given Rs 50,000 by Mohsin sometime after the February 13 Pune bomb blast.

"After the Pune blast, Baig, Mohammed Ahmed and Mohsin met when the cash was given to Baig," the official said. "Baig deposited money on regular intervals in one person's bank account as per the account holders consent. Whenever, he got money from his associates, he deposited them his companion's account. The bank account has now been sealed," the official said, refusing the divulge the name of the bank account holder. The ATS had seized 700 grams and 1.20 kgs of RDX from Bilal and Baig respectively, the official said adding the pen drive seized from the duo was sent to Forensic laboratory for examination.

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