Appeasement helps IM go global

im1The National Investigation Agency will seek help from the security agencies in Bangladesh for more clues into the Bodhgaya terror strike in which 10 bombs exploded. NIA officials say that they have intimated both the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing to seek more information from Bangladesh regarding the operational capabilities of an outfit by the name Hizbut Tahrir which since the past three years has been working closely with the Indian Mujahideen.

The story of the IM-HT nexus dates back to the year 2010 when the Darabanga and West Bengal modules of the Indian Mujahideen were being set up and getting ready for activation. With the IM- Lashkar-e-Tayiba nexus splashed around all across the globe, the ISI forged a relationship with the HT and the outfit was directed to work with the IM in India. Continue reading “Appeasement helps IM go global”

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What information can Fasih Mehmood provide?

Pic: indiatvnews

After a long fought battle, Fasih Mehmood has finally been deported to India and the Delhi police have taken him into their custody. India has been pushing for his deportation for the past six months, but it required a lot of coaxing before the Saudi Arabia authorities were convinced.

Fasih Mehmood aged 28 is an engineer and was working in Jubail before his name cropped up in cases related to terrorism. His name first cropped up during the investigation into the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts case in Bangalore and the police had said that he had a lot of information regarding the case. It was during the interrogation of Kafeel Akthar, an accused in the same case that his named had cropped up. The police said that there were call records to show that they were in touch with each other. Continue reading “What information can Fasih Mehmood provide?”

Arrests in Delhi show IM modules are intact

The arrest of three Indian Mujahideen operatives in Delhi today will provide the police more vital clues about their operations in the city and also details regarding the recent Pune blasts.

Delhi police sources tell rediff.com that they had specific intelligence about these persons trying to carry out attacks during the festival season and on them they had found arms and ammunition which was to be used for the attack.

Continue reading “Arrests in Delhi show IM modules are intact”

Fasih Mehmood- Probe and the Saudi relationship

Pic: indiatoday.intoday.in

The Fasih Mehmood case is something that Indian agencies will tread very carefully on since if something does go wrong then there is a risk of jeopardizing a perfect relationship that has been set up with that country.

Fasih Mehmood is a person wanted in connection with the Chinnaswamy blasts at Bangalore as per the Indian agencies. A couple of months back, a team of the Indian police had reached Saudi Arabia and along with the local police over there detained him. The Saudi establishment had permitted his questioning in custody over there. This matter however made big news when the family of Fasih Mehmood came on to the streets and also approached the Supreme Court. The Indians made it clear that he was not in their custody and they were still working out the formalities of his extradition with the Saudi establishment.

While the Indian agencies were permitted to question him in Saudi Arabia, the problem began when they sought his extradition into India. The establishment over there made it clear that the extradition could happen only once the Indians manage to establish the case against them. Today what the Indian police have on them is the statements of some of the accused but the problem is that they have not been able to corroborate the evidence. Sources say that the Saudi establishment was not convinced with the evidence on hand and they also took a bit of a back seat once the family approached the Supreme Court.

Sources also add that the extradition is not impossible, but it would take more time. The Saudi police have said that they would question the accused and also conduct their own investigation before deciding on whether he could be extradited or not. However the Saudi police are not averse to the idea of the Indian police questioning him on their soil, but they have said a clear no to the extradition.

The Indian agencies will tread extremely carefully on this matter and would not like to rush things up now. Saudi is an extremely important country for us. The recent extradition of Abu Jundal is a testimony to how close the relations are at the moment. Moreover for the Indians they cannot afford to rub Saudi Arabia the wrong way and if they do and put up weak cases then a lot of other cases will suffer. It is common knowledge that many operatives take shelter in Saudi Arabia and on a regular basis India would need to be in touch with their counterparts and ensure that extraditions take place. Saudi on the other hand too is trying to clean up this mess and has assured of full cooperation. However at no cost would they want an innocent to be extradited as this could have a disastrous result.

India has on its list a host of other operatives who they believe are in Saudi Arabia. During most of the investigations into terror cases, it has been found that many operatives have used Saudi as a safe house. Not only are there operatives who settle down in Saudi Arabia, but there is also a large deal of financial transactions through hawala channels which take place and land in India. India has very often appraised the Saudi establishment about the same and the latter has assured of full cooperation. However the Saudi establishment is very clear that all cases for extradition will be cleared only once there is incriminating evidence and at no point in time would they want any of these persons to go to a court and drag the establishment into a legal battle on the basis that a false case was made out.

Fasih Mehmood’s family informed that their battle is still on. The Saudi statement on Fasih is a recent development and they would be consulting with their lawyer on what needs to be done.

The police in India are however convinced that Fasih is a player in the stadium blasts case. We need some more time to corroborate the evidence says an official involved in the investigation of the case.

According to the police in India, he is an operative of the Indian Mujahideen who was based out of Jubail in Saudi Arabia. An engineer by profession, he is said to have been close to a person by the name Kafeel Akthar who is in the custody of the Bangalore police for the same case. The Bangalore police say that they found Fasih’s name on Kafeel’s cell phone. During the questioning of Akthar they found that Fasih had helped in recruitment and also financing the blasts.

The Fasih Mehmood mystery

Pic by-sunday-guardian.com

Fasih Mohammad is a name in circulation and in investigation circles he is considered to be a primary player for the Indian Mujahideen based out of Jubail in Saudi Arabia. The police say that he would be probed for his alleged role in the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts at Bangalore. However the more important aspect today is the whereabouts of this man who is an engineer by profession.

A fortnight ago it was reported that Mehmood was brought down to India in an undercover operation carried out by the Indian agencies. His family members too confirmed this fact that Mehmood was taken away by the Indian agencies. He is said to have been brought down to Delhi first and then questioned later by the Bangalore police for his role in the stadium blasts.

However since this incident none of the Indian agencies have confirmed this fact and say that the man in question is still at Jubail. There is information regarding his involvement in the blasts, but we are still working out the formalities for his deportation officially. The Intelligence Bureau says that a red corner alert will be issued in a couple of days and after this process is completed he would be deported to India with the help of the Saudi authorities.

Mehmood is an engineer working at Jubail. He is said to have been arrested first by the police of Saudi Arabia and then taken away by the Indian agencies. His name is said to have cropped up during the interrogation of Kafeel Akthar who is in the custody of the Bangalore police for his alleged role in the stadium blasts. The Bangalore police is however tight lipped regarding the exact conversation they had with Akthar, but sources say that the name of Mehmood came into the picture when they found his name and number stored in Akthar’s cell phone.

The preliminary investigations regarding Mehmood go on to show that he was part of this network and could have contributed in a small way towards the stadium blasts. The police are also probing his role for any financial transactions that could have possibly been made from the Gulf. Further the other point of suspicion arose when they realised that he had done his education in Bhatkal, a town in Karnataka which had once a upon a time housed the Bhatkals- Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal.

The journey for his family has been a hard one. The day he was said to have been taken away by the Indian police, they also said that on the same day his wife too had been deported to India. His family members say that the government has a responsibility to inform them about his whereabouts. Some even suspect that from Saudi he was taken to Delhi and later to Bangalore.

The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association which has been helping the family members in their fight to find Mehmood say that it has been over two weeks that Fasih Mahmood practically disappeared from his residence in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as an engineer. On 13th May, Sunday, Mahmood was taken away by a group of Indian and Arab men, all in civil dress, and their house searched, while his wife, Nikhat Perveen, was held in a room by an Arab woman.

While his wife and family have received no official communication from the Indian government, speculation has been rife in the press that Mahmood has been arrested—a wholly wrong usage, as it can only be termed illegal detention—for being financier to the alleged terror plots of the shadowy organistaion, Indian Mujahideen. While pleas of Nikhat seeking the details of her husband’s whereabouts are falling on deaf ears, unnamed ‘sources’ are zealously leaking allegations against Mahmood to the press. So far, MHA, MEA and NHRC have all obstinately stonewalled Nikhat entreaties, feigning ignorance. The Home Secretary has refused to give any assurance to Nikhat that her husband would be produced; indeed, he claimed to have no information on him.

Fasih Mahmood’s illegal detention in an undisclosed location, possibly on foreign land, is in gross violation of all established legal procedures.

We demand that Fasih Mahmood must be immediately produced in an Indian court, and that the Indian government officially own up to this illegal ‘arrest’. Fasih Mahmood must be given immediate access to his family and lawyers.

The Indian establishment however are in denial regarding the arrest/detention of this man. We are following a proper procedure to ensure that he is brought down to India in order for us to probe his role in the stadium blasts. We have sufficient proof to seek the extradition of Mehmood and once he is brought down it would be made public, sources also point out.

Investigators say that he had visited India at the time of the attack. We need to question him to find out about his role and even ascertain whether he was involved or not. However the allegations by the family members that he is in our custody is wrong and time would tell the correct picture, the police also add.

Engineer deported from Saudi may have links with IM

Two days back an engineer from Dammam in Saudi was brought down to India on charges of terror. While his arrest is officially pending confirmation, sources say that this man who hails from Darabhanga in Bihar is being questioned in connection with certain terror incidents undertaken by the Indian Mujahideen in India.
Faseeh Mahmood an engineer from Dammam (Jubail) was arrested in Saudi Arabia and deported to India. A day after his deportation his wife too was deported to India.
Mahmood’s name is said to have sprung up during the interrogation of Kafeel Akthar who is currently in custody of the Bangalore police for his alleged role in the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts.
Police and intelliegence officials consider this to be an important break through and say that his name cropped up during the questioning of Akthar in connection with the stadium blasts.
Although none of the agencies would like to come to any definitive conclusion regarding Mahmood, police say that they would continue to look for more leads in this case.
However what some officials say that this arrest does prove that the the IM still relies heavily on its Gulf network to carry out operations. The questioning of many IM operatives specific to the Chinnaswamu blasts have told the police that all its funding comes through a network in the Gulf. Money continues to be wired in through networks such as hawala and the operatives do use it for their operations. In the recent few cases it has been found that the money was sent in from the Gulf and wired to an operator in Delhi who in turn passed on the money to Yasin Bhatkal. The hawala operative was paid Rs 1.50 lakh for this operation, investigators said.
A lot appears to be emerging from the investigations into the stadium blasts. It has had its roots not only in Bihar but has been linked to modules both in Bihar and Saudi Arabia. The interrogation of the recently arrested Kafeel Akthar has led the police to some operatives who had provided the logistic details for the blasts.
The police will now try and ascertain what link Akthar had with Mahmood. It is being said both hailed from the same place in Bihar. Another link which the agencies are trying to look into is whether Mahmood had any link with Yasin Bhatkal. It is said that he did his higher studies from a college in Bhatkal.
His family has however reacted sharply to the arrest and swear that he has no links with any terror group.

Parents of ‘IM’ operative seek justice

The parents of Kafeel Akthar, an alleged Indian Mujahideen operative have filed complaint against the Bangalore police for illegal confinement of their son. The complaint has been filed before the police at Darabhanga in Bihar.

Kafeel was picked up by the Bangalore police in an undercover operation by the Bangalore police from Bihar and brought down to Bangalore after being produced before a court in Ranchi. Kafeel was arrested in connection with the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts.

In their complaint before the police, the parents sought his production in Bihar and also alleged that the Bangalore police had detained him illegally. It was also alleged that the Bangalore police had tortured Kafeel’s aged father while carrying out the arrest.

The arrest of Kafeel has not been short of controversy. Nithish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar had raised objection to the Bangalore police not keeping their administration in the loop before carrying out the arrest. The Bangalore police however termed it as an exceptional situation and said that in such cases the Bihar administration can be informed later. Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sadananda Gowda also said that he would write to Nithish Kumar clarifying their stand on the matter.

Standard Operational Procedure-The legalities

Photo courtesy: Hindustan Times

The arrest of Kafeel Akthar, an alleged operative of the Indian Mujahideen has broken into a full fledged war between Karnataka and Bihar. Bihar Chief Minister, Nithish Kumar has taken objection to the manner in which the operation was carried out and more irritated with the fact that the Karnataka police did not keep Bihar in the loop before picking Kafeel Akthar up. Karnataka on the other hand has termed it as an exceptional situation and has defended the operation by stating that information can always be given later in this scenario.

Nithish Kumar who has been opposing the National Counter Terrorism Centre may be trying to build up a stronger case and would point out to the centre that in the event of an NCTC being formed such operations could increase two fold. The debate is likely to rage on but the legal position of such an operation is that what Karnataka has done is an irregularity and not an illegality.

The Karnataka police may eventually get away with this in the court of law, but in the police circles take a beating as they have not followed the Standard Operating Procedure. This is the second time that the Karnataka police have conducted such an operation without the knowledge of their counterparts. The last time they carried out an operation of this nature without following Standard Operating Procedure when they arrested Abdul Nasar Madani from Kerala.

Sources in the Bihar police say that there is an unwritten code in such operations and it ought to have been followed. It is only the state police which recognises the pros and cons when an arrest is made. Police from other states cannot just walk in, carry out an arrest and leave the law and order situation to us. Had we have been consulted on the same, then we could have dealt with it in a better manner and also ensured that there was no problem to the law and order situation. Kafeel Akthar was a lecturer in a college and he did enjoy a certain amount of reputation in his locality. This sort of an arrest could well have disturbed the law and order situation. Had the Karnataka police shown us the case against him then we could have helped them out.

Sources in the Karnataka police however defend their actions by stating that there was a need to ensure that this operation was carried out with utmost secrecy. Akthar was a known person and if we had created noise he would have been tipped off and could have well escaped and we did not want that to happen. Moreover we ensured that the operation was carried out on a low key basis and had no intention of disturbing the law and order situation there.

Kafeel Akthar’s name cropped up during the interrogation of Kamal Hasan, another operative of the IM from Bihar. The Bangalore police have been on the trail of Akthar for quite some time now and it was finally a tip off from the Andhra Pradesh which helped them zero him down to Darabhanga in Bihar. While the initial charge against Akthar speaks about his larger involvement in the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts, the Bangalore police are keen to find out his exact relationship with IM biggie, Yasin Bhatkal. It is alleged that Akthar had provided Yasin with a SIM card which was taken under his name and this according to the police establishes a vital link.

The legal debate: Such operations have been carried out by many police personnel across the country. When the police believe that an accused shares a comfortable equation with an establishment in their home state, they go about an operation without making an announcement. The recent case where Yasin Bhatkal managed to give the Delhi police the slip from Maharashtra is an example of why police officials want their operations to remain a quiet affair.

However coming to the Akthar operation it was strange as to why the Karnataka police produced him before a court in Ranchi when he was arrested in Bihar. Legal experts say that there is no law which says that in such cases a person has to be produced before the jurisdictional court when such an arrest is made. These are matters of utmost importance and the jurisdiction of a court will not come into play. The Karnataka police would say that they found it fit to produce him before a court in Jharkhand as they did not want this issue to become public. The court before such an accused is produced will in turn issue a transit warrant and then issue another directive to produce the accused before a court in that state from where the police officials have come.

Legal experts clearly point out that this is an irregularity on part of the Bangalore police and it is not an illegality. This is a case of terrorism and there is national interest involved in it. In normal course they do inform the local police, but if they feel that the operation could go haywire then they are at liberty to maintain secrecy. Such an operation would not depend on the standard operation procedure, but on the circumstance. Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes it clear that once a case has been registered the police reserve the right to arrest an accused person for which topography cannot become the criteria.

The other question is whether Bihar can take legal action against Karnataka. What Bihar could do it raise this issue with the central government and lodge a complaint. However the government is not at liberty to go to court as that right only is reserved only to the accused person. He can bring up this matter during his trial and only the court can decide whether the arrest had a legality or not.

Read More:
NCTC will be more legal than practical
NCTC- A Dracula in the making?

Bihar arrest was exceptional situation-Kar DGP

Relatives of Kafeel Akhtar after his arrest. Photo courtesy: Indian Express

Karnataka Police Chief while describing the arrest of Kafeel Akthar as an exceptional situation said that there is a provision to inform the police of another state later.
Karnataka Police Chief A R Infant was reacting to the statements made by Bihar Nithish Kumar who had expressed unhappiness over the Karnataka police arresting Akthar without the knowledge of the Bihar adminitration.
Infant said that Akthar was picked up from Barsamyla village in Darbhanga village. I am awaiting a report from my officials regarding this operation.
Akthar was arrested on May 6. We had information about him earlier but could not share it as we apprehended that he may run away. This man has plenty of local contacts and could have easily escaped. Our police team thought it fit to produce him before the nearest court after he was picked up.
In a normal situation the police do need to inform but during an exceptional situation there is no such need. This is an exceptional situation and there is a provision to inform later, Infant also added.
Infant said he will look into the allegations being made by the Bihar CM. If there is a violation under the Code of Criminal Procedure then action will be taken he added.