M A I N   N E W S

Police probing Javed-Ishrat link

Mumbai, June 19
Following investigations by the Pune police, which established that slain suspected terrorist Javed Mohammed had lived in the same Mumbai suburb as Ishrat Raza in the 90s, the Thane police is now trying to establish links, if any, between the Mumbai collegian and Javed.

They and two other Pakistan-based suspected terrorists were shot dead in a police encounter in Ahmedabad on June 15. All four are accused of being members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit.

The Thane Crime Branch (CID) is already probing the antecedents of 19-year-old Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra, who was a student of BSc-II at Khalsa College here. Acting on information provided by the Pune police that Javed had stayed in Mumbai between 1995 and 1998, the Thane Crime Branch is now probing whether the two had met in that period.

The police will also try and answer how Ishrat came in touch with 32-year old Javed who was named Pranesh Kumar Gopinath at birth but changed his name when he converted to Islam to marry his girlfriend. Javed was a driver by profession.

There are hints that the duo had established some “kind of friendship” and this is being probed by the police.

Six years ago, Ishrat would have been 13 while Javed 26 and the age difference may prove to be a hurdle in the friendship theory, police sources said.

Javed hailed from Charummoodu in Alapuzha district of Kerala and in the 90s he converted to Islam to marry Sajita. In the past, he had also visited a Gulf country.

The police is also looking into how Javed came in contact with the two Pakistan-based terrorists who were killed in the encounter. The four are accused of planning to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Thane police is interviewing owners of phone booths and cyber cafés to find out the places and people Ishrat used to call. Also, a Gujarat police team is believed to have had visited Mumbra around a week back, but this could not be confirmed.

Maharashtra State Minorities Commission Chairman Mohammed Naseem Siddiqui raised the query: “I have heard about this from the Mumbra locals. The purpose is not known. The Gujarat police must come out with details, if any.”

On speculations that Ishrat had links to the militant outfit, a senior Mumbai Crime Branch-CID officer said: “Just because she is a girl and a college student does not mean that she is not linked to anti-national activities.”

Ishrat was the only breadwinner of a big family comprising a mother, three sisters and a brother. She used to take tuitions and earn around Rs 1,500 per month to support her family. Her father, a contractor, had died in 2001 leaving the family in dire straits. — UNI

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