M A I N   N E W S

Two bomb planters arrested
Were planning to strike malls, ONGC offices

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 14
Anti-terror squad of the Mumbai police today claimed to have taken into custody two suspects who were allegedly planning to carry out bomb blasts in the city. Identified as Abdul Latif alias Guddu (29) and Riyaz Ali (23), the duo were arrested from Matunga railway station on Saturday evening, the police said.

According to anti-terror squad chief KP Raghuvanshi, the accused were planning to plant bombs at two shopping malls and at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation offices in the city.

Raghuvanshi said while Latif was a resident of Bandra, Ali belonged to Dahisar area. The duo was planning to plant bombs at the Thakur Mall near the octroi checkpoint at Dahisar, the Mangaldas market in South Mumbai and the ONGC offices at Bandra, he said.

According to Raghuvanshi, both were in touch with a handler in Pakistan who operated under the code name ‘uncle’. “We are trying to determine the identity of ‘uncle’," he said.

Central intelligence agencies, said the police officer, had tipped off the local police about the imminent bomb blasts to be carried out by the two suspects.

Apart from plotting bombs, the duo was also responsible for recruiting other bombers who were to be sent to Pakistan for training. “They have even submitted relevant documents to obtain passports for the recruits. But before sending the boys they wanted to carry out a big incident here,” Raghuvanshi said.

Now, the ATS is probing whether the two were part of a larger cell operating in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, he added.



Mumbai Arrests
Families allege foul play

Mumbai, March 14
The families of Abdul Latif and Riyaz Ali, arrested for allegedly planning terror strikes in the city, today claimed that the duo were falsely implicated by the police and had nothing to do with terror activities.

Aziza Shaikh, mother of Riyaz, said, “My son Riyaz and son-in-law Abdul Latif, who married my daughter, are innocent. They have nothing to do with any terror activities.”

Riyaz had completed his computer course recently and was looking for a job at a call centre, she said.

“He has been working in a shop selling clothes in Thakkar Mall,” said Aziza, a resident of suburban Dahisar.

“When Riyaz did not return home on Friday night, we thought he was hanging out with his friends. But yesterday, his father Abu Bakar received a call informing him that our son was arrested by the ATS,” she said.

Nusrat, wife of Abdul Latif, said, “My husband never indulged in any activities which are against our country. Whatever the police is saying is false”.

“Today the police conducted searches at our house in Bandra and took away the photographs of my husband, who was involved in stitching covers of electronic appliances,” said Nusrat, mother of two girls. — PTI



Hizb’s ‘Pepsi bomber’ held in Gujarat

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, March 14
Foiling a plan by Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen to set up base in Gujarat, police has arrested a Kashmiri Bashir Ahmed Baba alias "Pepsi bomber" who was allegedly recruiting youths and had conducted a recce of key sites, including ISRO facility in the state.

“We have arrested one Basheer Ahmed Baba alias Aijaz (32) from near Samarkha village in Anand district last night,” Gujarat anti-terror squad chief Ajay Tomar said in Ahmedabad today.

Baba, who was out on bail, was arrested on a tip-off given by Central security agencies after police got a whiff of his activities, which were being closely monitored.

Tomar said Baba’s main job was to identify vulnerable youth, brainwash them and send them to Pakistan for terror training, till now having sent nearly 3,000 youths for the purpose.

A resident of Srinagar, Baba was known among the Jammu and Kashmir police as "Pepsi Bomber" for his ability to assemble improvised explosive devices in empty Pepsi cans along with an accomplice.

He was active during the Amarnath land agitation row and had allegedly hurled IEDs in Pepsi cans at police. He was arrested after officials traced the chemical factory, set up in the house of one Arif Gilkar, where the two allegedly used to assemble the IEDs.

Baba had conducted detailed recce of some places, including Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), railway stations, Kankaria lake, science city, Akshardham temple malls and cinema houses, Tomar said. — PTI



A weekend of major successes, says govt

New Delhi, March 14
The government today termed it a weekend of “major successes” with the arrest of terrorists and militants in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Manipur.

While the Maharashtra ATS arrested two terror suspects Abdul Latif alias Guddu, and Riyaz Ali from Mumbai, the Gujarat ATS arrested Bashir Ahmed Baba alias Pepsi bomber, from Anand while in Manipur, the chief of Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup (KYKL) was arrested by security forces.

“This weekend we have had three major successes. One module has been busted in Maharashtra in Mumbai, which the Maharashtra ATS has already made statement.... We have another module being busted in Gujarat of the Hizbul Mujahideen and KYKL chief of the army has been arrested in Manipur also... so it’s been good...,” Union Home Secretary GK Pillai said. — PTI



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