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Amir Reza Khan's fingerprint in terror attacks

Amir Reza Khan's fingerprint in terror attacks

Author: Caesar Mandal
Publication: The Times of India
Date: September 26, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Kolkata_/Amir_Reza_Khans_fingerprint_in_terror_attacks/articleshow/3529225.cms

The terror trail has taken a sudden swerve towards Kolkata, with police and intelligence agencies coming across a familiar name - Amir Reza Khan, who is said to have played a key role in the recent serial blasts. Amir - suspected to be a key functionary of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) - may be living in Pakistan now, but he hails from a dingy lane in Kolkata's eastern fringes.

Amir, in his early 30s, is wanted by Interpol for his role in the 2001 abduction of shoe baron Partha Roy Burman and the American Center attack in Kolkata a year later.

According to police, his elder brother Asif Reza Khan was probably the first person from Kolkata to be hauled up for terrorism. Asif was arrested in 2001 and killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police a few months later.

Amir's name resurfaced after the arrest of five youths in Mumbai on Wednesday. Police claim the five masterminded and executed jihadi attacks across the country in the last few years. One of them, Sadique Sheikh, is suspected to be one of IM's founder members. He was allegedly accountable to one Roshan Ahmed who, in turn, is suspected to have been instructed and funded by Amir. Authorities in Mumbai and Kolkata are now desperate to unearth more information on Amir.

Amir grew up in Beniapukur's Mafidul Islam Lane and graduated from a well known college in Kolkata. His involvement with jihad went largely unnoticed till 2001. Till that time, police were more busy tracking the activities of his brother Asif and his 'commando' force. Police suspect that Asif's death in Gujarat led Amir on a path of revenge. He was allegedly one of the key planners of the shoe baron's abduction.

Amir is believed to have left Kolkata immediately after his brother's arrest, leaving his wife and daughter behind. Intelligence officials suspect that he managed to bring together members of the Asif Reza Khan Commando Force and attack the American Center, killing seven policemen. Amir and his associates - some of them suspected to be from Pakistan - continue to evade authorities.

Intelligence agencies that have kept track of his movements claim that Amir initially fled to Bangladesh and then to Sharjah, UAE. "Reza is now a wealthy businessman in Pakistan and is coordinating the LeT and HuJI chapters in India. Jihadi groups in India are being funded by Amir," a senior intelligence official claimed.

"Indian Mujahideen comprises selected members of LeT and HuJI, whereas SIMI's role is that of a catalyst. SIMI provides shelter, logistics support and cover while Lashkar and HuJI operatives execute attacks," said a senior police officer.

The state CID, Kolkata Police and other agencies are in touch with their counterparts in Mumbai. "We are in touch with Mumbai Police for more details on Amir. We still don't have specific information on his activities in Kolkata but we hope to get more details," said Jawed Shamim, DC (DD), Kolkata Police.

Intelligence agencies have reasons to believe that Amir is still active in West Bengal. Months ago, Jamaluddin alias Babubhai - allegedly a key HuJI man in eastern India and a suspect in the Varanasi blasts - was arrested with a huge consignment of RDX. "Babubhai was in the gang involved in the Khadim abduction. Similarly, another accused in the abduction - Mijanur - is operating a HuJI module from Bangladesh. They were members of Amir's old gang," an intelligence officer said.

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