Kar Lokayukta resigns

Justice Shivraj Patil, Lokayukta of Karnataka has tendered his resignation to the Governor of Karnataka. Justice Patil announced this at a press briefing a while ago in Bangalore.
Addressing the media he said that he did not aspire or ask for the position of Karnataka Lokayukta. I accepted it as an opportunity to serve the people of the state of Karnataka with commitment and concern . A malicious campaign has been carried out in the past few days against me.I wish to clarify for people to know and judge for themselves on the issue of the allotment and holding of sites by my wife and myself.
In the year 1982 when I was a practicing lawyer at the High court ofKarnataka, I purchased a small site at Vasanthnagar, Bangalore from aprivate individual and built my residence. The same was neither allotted bythe Government nor any society.Thereafter, in the year 1994 while I was a Judge of the High Court I was allotted a site in the Judicial Layout by the Karnataka Judicial Department
All the purchases havebeen through legitimate funds generated and are accounted for.On assuming the office of Lokayukta, I voluntarily declared my assets reflecting the above. Despite having no justification an issue was sought to be raised in this regard, taking into account the position I held, to avoid a public debate, which would detract from my functioning and my moral authority to deal with men and matter. All these assignments including my current one as Lokayukta I have done to the best of my ability and with aclear conscience.This malicious campaign has deeply hurt and pained me. My only discomforting thought is, am I giving up this office yieldingto the malicious campaign of a few and letting down the hopes of many who had reposed their faith in me.

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Reading into Agra blasts

The National Investigating Agency which is being kept busy with the probe into the Delhi blasts has now been taking a close look at the blast at Agra which took place on Saturday.

A day after the attack four persons were detained and questioned. The police however have not managed to get much out of them, but today continue to look into smaller modules which could have possibly carried out such an attack.

Although Agra has been a terror target since it is a tourist attraction, the police have not really been able to find any proper activity by fringe groups till date. According to the police there are some small cells in this region, but they have mostly found them to be self motivated. There are spill over factions from Delhi and Old Delhi which are working in Agra and they are not capable of carrying out big attacks. However these modules can be irritants and are capable of carrying out such small time attacks only to create diversions.

Sources in the NIA say that they would want to look at the Agra blast along with the Delhi blasts and see if there was any connection. There is nothing conclusive at the moment to show that it was an act of terror, but when you read this attack with the recent intelligence warning regarding Agra, it is an angle that we would want to explore.

The intelligence warning which was sounded in respect of Agra spoke about an attack on tourist places. Further it was also said that some youth from Delhi who are still upset with the Batla House encounter are forming smaller groups to carry out such strikes. Hospitals have always been soft targets and it is probably the easiest place to sneak a bomb into. There is a lot of activity and one can see that even in bigger places security at hospitals is very low. Moreover the Indian Mujahideen has carried out an attack in a hospital during the Ahmedabad blasts.

The investigations meanwhile are progressing into the Agra blasts. The preliminary report regarding the explosives have shown that there was a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulphur and charcoal and the same was packed with sharp objects in a cylindrical object. An IED was used to trigger the bomb with a nine volt battery.

Investigating agencies say that they have however found no connection between the Delhi and Agra blasts. Although it is suspected that it was carried out to confuse investigators, there is no direct link that has been found. However if the NIA says it is the HuJI which has carried out the Delhi blasts, it is not necessary that a module of the HuJi necessarily had to carry out a blast in Agra to divert investigators. Terror modules of different groups do not necessarily intereact with each other, but they do understand each others interests and can act on behalf of one another in times of need. This could have been the case in the Agra blasts and an angle that investigators are exploring. Terror groups do realize that some inroads are being made in the Delhi blasts and the NIA has even taken the probe down south. They are planning on questioning some operatives in Kerala which include T Nasir the accused in the Bangalore blasts case. Although there may not be any direct link with the Delhi blasts, it would help the NIA understand the formation of the HuJI in India better, NIA sources also said.

Blackout in Hyderabad

The battle for Telangana is expected to get uglier with the activists planning a power shut down in Hyderabad next week. The Telangana Rastriya Samithi which plans on leading this agitation is meeting with electricity board officials in this regard.

TRS general Secretary, Subhash Reddy informed that the power would be blacked out in Hyderabad next week onwards. This is just one of the many protests before a rail rokho would be staged from September 24th onwards. The electricity board officials from Telangana region will have a meeting tomorrow to chalk out this programme. However it has been decided the black out would not be in the entire Telangana region. It would be restricted to Hyderabad alone. We have decided not to implement this programme in the rest of Telangana since this could affect the lives of the farmers. They need power for their livelihood and we do not want that to get affected Reddy also informed. He further informed that in the next round they have also told auto drivers to stay off the road and stated that such agitations would continue until the union government made a proper decision.

Tie up: Reddy also answers the big question about a tie up with the Congress. He says that at the moment there is nothing on the cards. However once the Telangana bill is passed in the parliament and it reaches the President of India will the TRS think of any tie up with the Congress. He was however non committal about a merger and spoke only about a tie up, but added that there will be no form of commitment until the bill is passed in the Parliament. He also added that the TRS would not become weak if the Congress declared Telangana and added that the people know who is responsible for this movement. He also rubbished claims that the TRS was cozying up to Jagan Mohan Reddy. It is clear that he will support only a unified Andhra Pradesh and when this is his stand there is no question of us going anywhere near him.

Agra: An act of personal rivalry or terror?

As the Uttar Pradesh police continues to quiz four persons in connection with the Agra blasts there are very few indications for now to suggest that it was an act of terror. Sources informed that it could be an act conducted due to personal rivalry.
However the police are not ruling out other possible angles to the attack and say that there are various other teams on the job as well. The ATS which is also conducting the probe says that other possibilities of small terror modules are being looked into but for the moment it appears unlikely.
A report that was sent out to the Home Ministry also suggested that it is too early to suggest that the blast was undertaken by a terrorist group. There is a motive of personal rivalry as per the preliminary investigations, the report also stated.
The FSL which has collected evidence is also looking into the material used for the blast. The police say it is not suprising to see such material such as IEDs being used since this part of UP has always been notorious for such activity.

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Agra blast- what is the motive?

Small leads seem to be emerging from the blast site at Agra. As the police and various other teams try and make sense out of the incident, there appears to be no clear motive behind the attack.
Intelligence Bureau officials point out that there appears to be no immediate motive found but for the moment it looks like the blast was undertaken in order to create a possible diversion.
The blast is clearly a low intensity one and it becomes clear that it was a hurried operation and not intended at causing a major destruction. Although it is too early to pin point and say it was an act by a terrorist organisation, it cannot be ruled out. Agra has been on their radar and inputs had been shared in this regard.
The investigations into the Delhi blasts have been showing some progress and after Varanasi and 13/7 invesitgators were puzzled with this new kind of attacks. The NIA had shown some progress after the Delhi blasts and investigations had started showing some direction. This blast could well be a diversionary tactic. There have been instances in the past where these persons have carried out small blasts in order to distract investigators. This blast could also be one such operation.
Meanwhile the Home Department has stated that it appears to be a low intensity blast. investigators have also found wires and batteries at the spot which were used to trigger the bomb. However the verification of the substance is still on and the FSL team which is collecting evidence will be able to give a clearer picture.

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General alert sounded across the country

Moments after the blast at Agra a general alert has been sounded by the Intelligence Bureau. The police across the country have been advised not to let their guard down since terror groups are likely to be carrying out blasts in a specific pattern.
An alert was already in place after the Delhi blasts and the entire nation was on high alert.
The alert says that some elements could carry out attacks on low security areas and also places which are not on the radar. There is a pattern being noticed since the 13/7 blasts and some groups could take advantage of the volatile situation to strike at some places.

Agra was under radar: IB

Photo courtesy: Zee News

Even as the Uttar Pradesh police try and ascertain the nature and the cause of the blast at Agra today, it is interesting to note that there was a specific intelligence alert in respect of Agra around 20 days back. The IB alert had suggested that smaller towns could be targeted and Agra was one of the cities under the radar.
Sources in the intelligence bureau informed that it is not yet ascertained that it is an act of terror but also added that Agra was always under the radar. Sources also added that this belt is notorious for the use of weapons and there has been open movement of explosives. However it is for the first time that such an attack has occured. The incidents in the past have mainly been restricted to political violence and gang wars. However innocents have not been targeted.
The IB said that there are small modules of various terror groups working in these areas and the procurements of material has always been easy. Officials say they still ascertaining the cause and nature of the blast. The FSL team has now reached the spot and a first look at the incident suggests that it was a low intensity blast.
The Anti Terror Squad is also at the spot and is studying the incident.

Setback for Jayalalithaa in corruption case

The Karnataka High Court today quashed the investigation by the vigillance against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Justice Jaganathan while quashing the decision of a probe by the vigilance also ordered the special court in Bangalore to conduct the trial on a day to day basis.
A petition had been filed challenging the decision to probe the disproportioante assets case by the director of vigilance. It was alleged that this probe had been initiated after Jayalaltihaa had come to power. It was stated that this probe was set up with her to weaken the case against her and she being the CM could influence the probe agency to her liking. It was further stated that the Supreme Court had already transferred the case to Karnataka and it was under trial and hence when this being the case there was no need for a seperate probe.
The High Court while allowing the petition directed the trial court in Bngalore to conduct the probe on a day to day basis. Jayalalithaa will have to now appear in person before the court following the Supreme Court order which was passed a week back.

Jihad-from Kashmir to Kerala

The National Investigating Agency has claimed that it has almost cracked the Delhi blasts case. It is now ascertained that it was an operation planned in the Kishtwar region of Jammu and Kashmir.

However the big question is whether this case is that simple. The angle which both the NIA and the IB would be looking to probe now is whether this new network in Kashmir has a connection with other networks across the country.

The primary issue that has been noticed is that a lot of the funds that are being generated for terror related operations have stopped being generated by the Northern part of the country. There is a great deal of funding that can be witnessed from down South and of the 45 strong cases of money laundering for terror operations, nearly 25 are from South.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that it has been noticed that a large part of the money for operations in the Valley are coming in from states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The Kashmir network is very heavily dependant on the funds from Kerala and what is worse is that it has become an extremely easy channel for terror operatives.

The interrogations that are being conducted into the Delhi blasts is expected to provide an answer to this and that would soon become a focal point of the investigations. A senior police official from Kerala confirms that there is a request from both the IB as well the NIA to provide more details about the networks in the state which are linked to Kashmir.  We have conducted our own investigations and have found on more than many ocassions a direct link between the state and the Valley.

The Kerala-Kashmir link was set up at the insistence of Ilyas Kashmiri who had a year back announced openly that he would train a lot of cadres from the Southern state. The statement was just an indication about the role Kashmiri who is also the HuJI boss wanted the cadres from Kerala to play. The ISI and also the HuJI understands the potential in Kerala for two reasons. The first one of course is that it is a hub for Hawala transactions and a lot of that money can be transferred to terror operations. Secondly there is a volatile environment in this state and it is easier to pick up recruits. There is also another aspect to this entire saga and that is there are several youth who do not require any sort of motivation from external forces. There are several self motivated youth who feel strongly about several issues and are ready to carry out operations on their own.

Today when one looks at the terror networks in Kerala it becomes clear that there is no proper organization and command. What the HuJI is trying to do is to bring them all under one forum so that a formidable force is prepared.

Two years back there was an interesting incident emerging out of Kerala which showed signs of the link to the Valley. During a gun battle in the Valley with hardcore terror cadres, it was found that seven of them were from Kerala. This was probably for the first time that Indians were engaged in a fidayeen battle in the Valley and this made the entire country sit up and take notice. During the probe it was also found that several 100 youth from Kerala had gone missing and could have possibly been taken in by Jihadist groups fighting in Kashmir.

As the investigations progressed there were more leads that emerged and a probe which was also conducted by the Bangalore police also led to the arrest of a key operative by the name Sarfaraz Nawaz. This person was brought in from Muscat and it was found that he was a key operative who reported to a module in Kerala. During the probe he also told his interrogators that there was a constant effort being made to set up a proper channel between Kerala and Kashmir.

Today when the investigations into the Delhi blasts are being conducted, the team feels that it should dig deeper into the Kerala network since it has a direct Kashmir connection. What they are tying to look into is whether a module from Kerala helped carry out this attack. They are also trying to find out how much of the funds sourced from Kerala for activities in the Valley were used for this blast. It would also be interesting for the investigators to find out if there is a dedicated channel in Kerala which is helping setting up a huge HuJI base in Kashmir.

The HuJI according to intelligence reports has been trying to make inroads in the Valley. Ever since the big boss Kashmiri made the statement regarding a fight in Kashmir, there has been a lot of effort on part of these cadres to set up a network. While it may have been tough for them to recruit cadres from other parts of the country, they did find it relatively easy to pick up cadres from Kerala.

For this the investigators would revisit the statements given by Nawaz and also T Nasir since these men have spoken about how they were trying to select cadres for operations in Kashmir. What becomes clear is that the HuJI has not only been looking to set up a proper base in Kashmir, but also create smaller groups so that it can carry out terror activities in other parts of the countries.

It needs to be curbed says an officer with the IB. The Kerala to Kashmir route is something that can turn out to be a big headache and it is very important to understand and crack this soon. This would also require a lot of help from countries such as Oman since a major part of the Kerala module which takes care of the funding is settled there. The Oman link the Saudi connection will all come into play during the investigation since investigators today believe that the Delhi blasts is just a pointer of things to come and it is important that it is curbed before it becomes a headache that none can cure.

A ban at last- The IM story

“… Here we are back – the Mujahideen of India – the terrorists on the disbelievers – the radicals of Islam – after our triumphant and successful assault at Jaipur, once again calling you all, who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad to accept Islam and bear witness that there is none to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Accept Islam and save yourselves.

This is just one of the mails that was sent out by the Indian Mujahideen prior to the deadly Gujarat blasts which wrecked havoc. Today the Indian Mujahideen, probably one of India’s deadliest home grown terror outfit has been banned and sanctions slapped by the United States of America. It has today been designated as a foreign terror outfit since it maintains close links with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistan based outfits.

The Indian Mujahideen was designed in a manner to carry out attacks on Indian soil and more importantly all its cadres were of Indian origin. It was a perfect ploy by the ISI to ensure that terror attacks continued unabated in India without a finger being pointed at Pakistan. Today Indian Intelligence agencies and other police wings welcome the decision by the US to designate the IM as a foreign terror outfit. It is an extremely important decision since today the top leadership of the IM is not in India. Riyaz Bhatkal, Yaseen Bhatkal, Amir Reza Khan(only one of Pakistan origin), Abdus Subhan, Assadullah Akthar and a few others are all out of the country. The Indian agencies were finding it extremely difficult to apprehend these persons thanks to international laws and today with the US slapping sanctions, the job becomes easier. There are a large number of the IM operatives who are settled in the Gulf and this move by the US would make it easier to bring them down to India. However a concern that would always remain is regarding some of the cadres who are at Pakistan and no international law is good enough when it comes to dealing with that country, IB officials point out.

The US move has also given Indian agencies another reason to smile about. Although the ISI had been claiming that the IM is an outfit born and brought up in India, the US order also makes it clear that this outfit has direct links with the Lashkar. This only vindicates India’s stand that any act of terror in India has the blessings of Pakistan based outfits.

The Inception: It is a well known fact that the Indian Mujahideen is just an off shoot of the banned Student’s Islamic Movement of India. In fact it could be termed as the radical SIMI. Almost the entire leadership were part of the SIMI at one point in time. Abdus Subhan himself was a magazine editor when he was in SIMI. Riyaz too was connected with the SIMI as an activist before he decided to become part of the core committee of the IM. The first time that the IM came to the limelight was during the court blasts at Uttar Pradesh in 2007. Although a mail was sent out claiming responsibility for the attacks, no one really took the IM seriously. However what followed was a spate of attacks later. The Jaipur bombings of 2008 is when the IM actually made its entry into the big world of terror. A chilling mail which was sent out after the attack is what made everyone sit up and take notice of this outfit.

After this there were a series of attacks and the infamous operation Bangalore Ahmedabad Delhi or Operation BAD was carried out. The mails that were sent out following those attacks only went to show the kind of arrogance that this group operated with. In fact the mails were more of a challenge and the mail during the Ahmedabad blasts was sent out five minutes prior to the blast. Some in the IB says that it is this arrogance which did them in finally and today they find themselves on a very weak footing.

Acts of terror:

Uttar Pradesh court blasts of 2007 November

Jaipur bombing of May 2008

Bangalore serial blasts on July 25 2008

Ahmedabad bombings on July 26 2008

Delhi bombings of 13 September 2008

Pune bombings of 2010

Jama Masjid Attack of 2010

Varanasi bombing of 2011

The 13/7 blasts (yet to be verified by the police)

Bombay serial blasts-2008

Top Leadership:

Amir Reza Khan of Pakistan who is the only non Indian in the outfit is considered to be the founder of the group. Originally from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he was a faithful commander and was later handed over the responsibility of setting up this outfit.

Safdar Nagori is another man associated with this outfit. Although he is credited with establishing the radical SIMI, it is said that larger plan hatched by him was to be part of the IM. However before the outfit could take shape he was arrested.

Riyaz Bhatkal who is still elusive was one of the key members of the organization. Hailing from the coastal Bhatkal town he is said to be one of the first members of the outfit. Today however there is a lurking doubt whether he is alive or not. Although some gangster had claimed to have eliminated him, there is absolutely no confirmation what so ever regarding his death.

Abdus Subhan who was originally a magazine editor in the SIMI became a central figure of the outfit. He is said to have set up the technical cell of the IM which eventually hacked into un secured wifi networks and sent out mails. Although those who knew him say way too much has been made out of his capabilities, Indian agencies believe that he is a crucial character in the outfit. Today Subhan is said to be hiding in Pakistan.

Mansoor Peerbhouy is today under arrest. He however could be credited with setting up the technical wing under the guidance of Subhan. A techie who worked with several reputed companies, he in fact after his arrest gave the police all the answers regarding the manner in which the IM mailing system worked.

The downfall:

Basically what the IM did was irk the police no end. All their mails and communication always took a dig at the police and the slogan was clear, “ catch us if you can.” The police did raise the bar and if one notices the manner in which the IM has been handled in the past two years one could say that they were hunted down. The real turning point was however the Batla House encounter. In a major battle between the Delhi police and some boys alleged to be IM members, it was the police who had the final say. However there is a great deal of controversy surrounding this encounter and many cry foul stating that it was fake. While this was the downfall of the IM some feel that this could be one of the biggest excuses on which they would plot their come back as well.

The restructuring:

This is something that has been worrying agencies no end. There has been a slump for the moment, but the fact that the top leadership is still elusive gives out worrying signals. The recruitment drive as of now is very slow. It is hard to say whether this is the correct picture or is it just a ploy to keep the heat at bay. Very slow movement has been witnessed especially in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi and also Pune. Although there is nothing significant the police are not taking chances. There are still several members who are out straying and they have been coming together and carrying out smaller attacks. In addition to this there are also several intercepts to show that the top leadership is very much in touch with groups such as the Lashkar and are planning a come back. It may not happen anytime soon, but they will surely make an attempt, a police officer said.