Twice the Kolkata Special Task Force (STF) tried to catch him and twice terror suspect Burhan Sheikh was able to give them the slip but on Thursday, officials said, they got lucky. Wanted in connection with the 2014 Burdwan blast case, Sheikh is suspected to be a member of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh terror outfit. Nabbing him, according to an STF source, was stroke of good fortune as he is expected to be a goldmine of information on the terror network in the state and the country.
Thursday’s arrest didn’t come easy. The STF, sources said, had been on his trail since the last many months. They were tracking his known associates and relatives. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, had also announced a reward of Rs 3 lakh for credible information on his whereabouts. “He would come to Kolkata apparently every two months to buy certain things”, said a source.
Several teams had visited various places to keep a watch on him and to work out leads so that he could be traced. Finally, on a tip-off, STF caught him from a market at B.B.Ganguly Street in central Kolkata on Thursday. “We handed him over to NIA today”, Murlidhar Sharma, DC, STF told The Indian Express on Friday.
In NIA’s chargesheet Burhan have been booked under various sections of IPC, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Explosive Substance Act.
According to sources, Burhan is the accused number 21 in the Burdwan blast case. Sheikh is also said to be a close associate of another arrested accused Maulana Yusuf Sekh alias Lal Mohammad alias Ibrahim, Sajid, Nasirullah and other top members of JMB.
As per sources, investigations into the incident suggested that Sheikh had provided his ancestral property to Maulana Yusuf Sheikh for construction of Simulia Mahila Madrasa, which was allegedly used as a training centre for new JMB recruits.
As per sources, his closeness to Yousuf can’t be ignored. Yousuf is suspected to have had a hand in the attack against Holey Artisan Bakery Café in Dhaka in 2016. He is also suspected of helping recruit people for the JMB in India.
At present eight accused named in the chargesheet are still absconding.