A suspected terrorist from Tamil Nadu who has eluded law enforcement agencies for over 15 years has been named as the central figure in the April 17, 2013 blast carried out at the BJP office in Bangalore.
Abu Backer Siddique, 48, on whom the Tamil Nadu police placed a reward of Rs five lakh last year following his alleged involvement in motivating a series of murders of right-wing Hindu leaders, was officially named by the Bangalore police as the driving force behind the BJP office blast in documents placed in a local court last week.
Following the interrogation over the past fortnight of three key persons – Al Ummah members Fakruddin, Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail – accused of carrying out the BJP office attack the Bangalore, police in documents filed before a court here on July 8 named Abu Backer Siddique as the person who motivated and guided the BJP office attack which left 18 persons injured.
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In a chargesheet filed in the case last year, Siddique had only been named as ‘Siddique Bhai’ – one among 20 participants in the blast conspiracy. Siddique has now been identified as the motivator and architect of the BJP office blast on the basis of statements provided during their interrogation.
The trio had been arrested near Chitoor in Andhra Pradesh in October last year in a joint operation by the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh police. The trio were arrested by the TN police for the July 1, 2013 killing of a Hindu Munnani leader in Vellore and the July 19, 2013 killing of a BJP general secretary in Salem.
Following the investigations in Tamil Nadu, the trio were taken into custody by the Bangalore police on June 21 this year to investigate their role in the BJP office blast case since investigations and the arrests of 11 others had revealed that Fakruddin, Malik and Ismail executed the attack with logistical support provided by a few other former members of the banned Al Ummah outfit.
The investigations over the last fortnight have revealed that the elusive Abu Backer Siddique motivated and guided Fakruddin and Malik to execute the attack at the BJP office. The investigations have also revealed that it was Abu Backer Siddique who taught Fakruddin to make IEDs.
For the BJP office blast the IED was prepared at the hideout near Chitoor and the directive to target the BJP office in Bangalore was given by Siddique, sources said. The probe has revealed that Siddique is a central figure in terrorist activities, the police stated in a court application.
“Siddique traveled and communicated in a manner where he would be untraceable. This means he has been trained in covert terrorist operations. We think he may be linked to the LeT,” police sources said.
Siddique had claimed to have trained with a terror group in Afghanistan during his interactions with the men, police sources said. A masters degree holder in literature, Siddique has been represented in the court documents as a speaker of multiple languages including Kannada, Malayalam Tamil, Urdu, and English.
According to records of the Tamil Nadu police, Siddique has been a wanted man for over 15 years in connection with a 1999 bomb case in Egmore in Chennai and a 1995 murder and explosives case in Nagoor. “We have been looking for him for the last 15 years. We do not have his whereabouts. He is moving around with anonymity,” a senior Tamil Nadu police officer said recently when Siddique’s name had emerged in connection with the investigations of the May 1, 2014 blast on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at the Chennai Central Station which left a young woman dead.
Police sources in Bangalore said Siddique was a suspect in the May 1 train blast case because he was adept at using IEDs and had trained others apart from Fakruddin in making IEDs.
Siddique has also been named in the court documents in Bangalore as a key motivator and planner for the series of attacks on right-wing leaders in Tamil Nadu in recent times. Police sources said that Fakruddin and Malik had revealed that several right-wing Hindu leaders in Tamil Nadu were on their target list.
The Bangalore police in its court application has stated that investigations against Siddique and others were necessary because ‘BJP and RSS leaders’ are likely to be targeted by him.
“Siddique seems to be actively involved in motivating and guiding radically inclined people to take up violence. There seems to be a pattern where persons who already have terror related police cases against them are being drawn into carrying out new attacks,” police sources said.
Some of those accused in the BJP office blast in Bangalore like Kichan Buhari who organised the explosives for the blasts were also earlier accused in the 1998 Al Ummah bomb attack in Coimbatore ahead of an L K Advani rally which lead to the death of 58 people.
Following the interrogation of Fakruddin, Malik and Ismail, the Bangalore police has also identified a small time Tamil Nadu politician Tenkasi Hanifa as the man who introduced Fakruddin and others to Siddique.