Sunday, March 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

3 LeT ultras shot in Mumbai

Policemen investigate at the site of shootout
Policemen investigate at the site of shootout in Mumbai on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Mumbai, March 29
Three Lashker-e-Toiba terrorists, suspected to be involved in the March 13 bomb blast in a train at Mulund here, were today killed in an encounter with the police on the Western Express Highway in suburban Goregaon.

According to a UNI report, the Mumbai police says that, with their killing, it has foiled a Lashkar-e-Toiba plan to assassinate the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, the Shiv Sena supremo, Mr Bal Thackeray, and the VHP leader, Mr Pravin Togadia, and attack places of worship.

Two of them are Abu Sultan and Abu Anwar Ali, while the identity of the third one is yet to be established. One AK-47 rifle and two pistols were seized from them.

Abu Sultan was the southern commander of Lashker-e-Toiba. The police said the involvement of the three in the Mulund blast was not ruled out.

The three were killed in an exchange of fire outside Mahananda Dairy on the highway in north Mumbai at about noon,” the police said.

They were moving in a car heading north towards suburban Borivali.

The trio had planned a chain of explosions in the city and elsewhere and the police had received a tip off about their activities. A close watch was being kept on their movements by crime intelligence unit of the Mumbai police led by Inspector Pradeep Sharma and Sub-Inspector Daya Naik.

On an information that the militants were to assemble at Goregaon to plan a terrorist attack, the police laid a trap and asked them to surrender.

However, they fired at the police, forcing it to retaliate. The militants were seriously injured in the firing and rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared them dead.

According to the intelligence gathered by the police, the terrorists were also suspected to be involved in the recent massacre of Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg in Jammu and Kashmir.

The police pressed sniffer dogs into service to check the baggages of the terrorists. The search was on and it would take some time to determine whether they had been carrying any explosive material or not, the police said.

Ambushes were laid at strategic points and searches carried out in sensitive areas as a precaution. Meanwhile, security has been tightened at Mantralaya, the airport and other important public places.

The city Police Commissioner R.S. Sharma, told reporters that Abu Sultan and Abu Anwar Ali were Pakistanis, while the third terrorist was an Indian whose identity was not known.

He said besides the arms, Rs 4 lakh had been seized from them.

“The trio were constantly changing names and places of residence, so, it was difficult to track them,” Mr Sharma said. He also said the police was probing the role of locals who had helped them.

Referring to the murder of Haren Pandya in Gujarat, he said the Mumbai police was not involved in the investigations, but was ready to extend all help to the Gujarat police. PTI, UNI


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