Delhi blast suspect Saif taken to Karnataka, many questioned (Lead)

September 22nd, 2008 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore/New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Police and intelligence personnel Monday questioned suspects in Karnataka’s Manipal town where Mohammed Saif, arrested after a shootout in Delhi, was taken to find the source of explosives used in the Sep 13 bombings in the capital and to unravel the Indian Mujahideen’s network.Besides carrying out the interrogations in Manipal, a five-member Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau team searched some hotels and other places in the town based on information given by those arrested for the Delhi bombings, informed sources said.

A team of Delhi Police Special Cell and Intelligence Bureau officials accompanied the 22-year-old Saif, nabbed Friday after police swooped down on a rented flat in south Delhi’s Jamia Nagar. Two suspected terrorists, Atif Amin alias Bashir, 24, and Mohammed Sajid, 23, were gunned down while two escaped. A third suspect, Zeeshan, was arrested later in the day.

All belong to Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district.

Explosives used in Delhi blasts are believed to have come from Karnataka. But Karanataka Home Minister V.S. Acharya said the explosives were not manufactured in the state but only transported to Delhi via the state.

“The Delhi team did not detain anyone in Manipal but only conducted investigations,” Superintendent of Police Praveen Pawar told reporters at Udupi, 20 km from Manipal.

“The team has returned to Delhi,” he said, declining to give details. “We only provided logistical support.”

According to Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh, Atif could be the mastermind behind the shadowy Indian Mujahideen who had sent Saif and Sajid to procure explosives from Karnataka.

“Atif gave them a number and asked them to meet a person there. The person gave them explosives and they immediately returned to Delhi,” he said.

The same explosives were used to assemble bombs at Atif’s Jamia Nagar house and were detonated in parts of Delhi - one in Karol Bagh, two in Connaught Place and two in M block market of Greater Kailash I - by a module of 13 people, the police maintain. The blasts killed 24 people and injured 124.

Investigators believe that Saif could be key in the blast probe as Sajid was killed during the shootout.

While Saif was taken to Karnataka, officers from the south district Delhi Police and Special Cell were jointly interrogating the three suspected terrorists - Zia-ur-Rahman, 22, Mohammed Shakil, 23, and Sakib Nissar, 22, - who were arrested Sunday from Jamia Nagar in connection with the Delhi blasts. They are also said to be from the Indian Mujahideen.

Earlier in the day there were reports that the Delhi team had detained a youth, said to be student of Sikkim Manipal University, for questioning.

“We have no information (about this) though we contacted the police after learning about it from the media,” Gopal Krishna Prabhu, the Manipal University registrar, told IANS on telephone from Manipal.

“My counterpart in Sikkim also does not have any information. Also students of that university need not and do not come to Manipal university as we do not conduct any classes for them,” Prabhu said.

The police superintendent said all educational institutions in the district, particularly Manipal which attracts several hundred students from abroad and other parts of India, have been told be on alert.

“Hotels and lodges in the district, specially in Manipal and Udupi, have also been told be on alert in view of the large number of students coming from different places,” Pawar said.

Delhi Police said all the terror suspects were being interrogated separately. But they would be confronted with each other to verify their versions about the bombings.

A hunt was on to nab the other six members of the Indian Mujahideen. The police were still checking the laptop recovered from Atif’s apartment.

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