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SIMI men's contacts under scan

SIMI men's contacts under scan

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: August 16, 2006
URL: http://cities.expressindia.com/archivefullstory.php?newsid=197020&creation_date=2006-08-16

Investigators probing July 11's serial blasts are now looking for possible links between absconding Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Raheel Abdul Rehman Sheikh, wanted in the Aurangabad arms haul case, and Mohammed Najeeb Abdul Rasheed Bakali and Irfan Anjum Ali, arrested by the Crime Branch on Monday.

Sources said they suspect that Najeeb and Irfan-both SIMI activists-established contact with Raheel through Feroz Ghanswala, who is close to Najeeb. Ghanswala, who is from Mahim, was arrested in New Delhi on May 8 along with another operative, Ahmedabad-based Mohammed Ali Chippa, by the Delhi Police's Special Cell. As much as 4.5 kg of RDX was seized from them.

Investigations so far have revealed that Najeeb and Irfan wanted to go to Pakistan for terrorist training.

On Monday night, Crime Branch officers searched the residences of both SIMI activists at Mahim and Santacruz and recovered incriminating documents and other jihadi literature, sources said.

During questioning, Najeeb told the police that after his visit to Gujarat with Ghanswala before the riots, he had lost contact with him for a while. When they reestablished contact, Ghanswala said he wanted to ''join the jihad'' and had asked Najeeb if he could help.

''We are investigating Najeeb's role further and are co-ordinating with other agencies, especially with the Delhi Police,'' said an official.

Ghanswala has told his interrogators in Delhi that he had been recruited by Raheel, who had arranged for his travel to Bangladesh and training at a Harkat-ul-Jihadi camp there.

Sources said that after Feroz Deshmukh-who was arrested earlier this month for his alleged involvement in the Aurangabad arms haul case-Najeeb is the second SIMI activist to be arrested who has had links with the Islamic Research Foundation.

Police officers said the IRF is still not under their scanner as ''it is an established and reputed institute involved in genuine religious work'' and ''was used by some elements as a camouflage''.

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