Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kerala's Headley nabbed thanks to Bangladesh

3 Dec 2009, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: South India’s terror kingpin and the alleged Lashker-e-Toiba mastermind behind last year’s Bangalore blasts, Tadiyantavide Nazeer, has landed in the custody of the Indian security agencies.

Thanks to some active help from the Bangladeshi authorities, Nazeer and his accomplice, Shamaz, were picked up by BSF from near the international border in Meghalaya.

The arrested will be handed over to Karnataka police for further investigations into the Bangalore serial blasts that left one woman dead and eight others injured. The interrogation of both Nazeer and Shamaz will help unravel the deep penetration of LeT in Kerala as well as other south Indian states. Nazeer is not only wanted for organising the serial bombings in Bangalore last year but also for supplying electronic circuits used by Indian Mujahideen to put together IEDs used in other strikes.

Nazeer, who hails from Kannur district of Kerala, is alleged to have recruited several Muslim youth from the state to volunteer for jihad training in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan.

Only last year, police and troops had shot dead four Kerala residents who were training with a Lashkar unit in the mountains above Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir. The four — Fayas, Fayis, Abdul Raheem and Muhammed Yasin — were later found to be linked to Bangalore blasts as well.

Nazeer was reportedly in regular touch with fugitive Indian Mujahideen commander Riyaz Shahbandri, also known as Riyaz Bhatkal. Bhatkal, wanted in several blasts cases, is believed to have fled to Karachi in 2008 in the wake of nation-wide police sweep that led to the arrest of several key Indian Mujahideen operatives.

Nazeer started out as a follower to former Islamic Sevak Sangh(ISS) leader and now PDP chief Abdul Nasser Madhani.

He then went on to dealing in fake currency minted in Pakistan, before graduating to level of a key recruiter of LeT cadres from south India. Besides several terror and murder cases, Nazeer is wanted for plotting to assassinate the then Kerala chief minister E K Nayanar to avenge the arrest of his leader Madhani.

Nazeer was also involved in planting a bomb at Coimbatore press club in 2002, besides the torching of a Tamil Nadu bus in Kochi in 2005 and the clandestine meetings of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India in Kerala in 2006 and 2007. The Kochi plan had the active backing of PDP.

Nazeer’s arrest by Indian agencies follows close on the heels of Dhaka’s crackdown upon some LeT-Huji leaders on its soil, based on a tip-off of their plans to target the US and Indian missions there. The police held several suspects involved in the plot during a raid on a seminary in the mountains near Chittagong. Shahidul Islam and Al-Amin, also known as Saiful, were held along with the influential Islamist cleric Mufti Harun Izahar.

Three Pakistani nationals allegedly linked to the Lashkar — Mohammad Munwar, Mohammad Ashraf Ali Zahid and Syed Abdul Qayyum — were also reportedly held following Mufti Izhar’s arrest. India believes funds for the assault on the diplomatic missions in Dhaka were despatched by Abdul Rehman Saeed, the Pakistan-based Lashkar commander responsible for managing its networks in Bangladesh.

Sources said that Nazeer was in fact netted by the Bangladeshi authorities as part of these raids, but, in order to avoid legal hassles in his extradition to India, he was escorted to the borders and quietly turned over to the BSF.

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