A SPECIAL Task Force of the Kolkata Police on Tuesday arrested two suspected Bangladeshi terrorists linked with Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), along with an alleged Indian arms dealer, from the city. The suspects have been identified as Bangladeshi nationals Samsad Mia (26) alias Tushar Biswas and Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Basirhat resident Manotosh Dey (46).
STF Deputy Commissioner Murlidhar Sharma said they were arrested from Kolkata railway station between 2.30 pm and 3 pm. The ABT is an al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic extremist group in Bangladesh, allegedly responsible for the killing of bloggers and intellectuals. During preliminary investigation, the STF found that Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi nationals and members of ABT, and had come to Kolkata to purchase arms and chemicals used for making explosives.
“ABT is responsible for the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh, and has direct links with the al-Qaeda network in the Indian sub-continent. Samsad occupied a high position in the ABT hierarchy. He had got a fake Aadhaar card made in the name of Tushar Biswas. We are trying to find out where and how he got it,” Sharma said.
Police said specific inputs were received from the Central Intelligence Bureau about the duo’s movements. “We were told by Central IB during Durga Puja, and while the U-17 FIFA World Cup was on, that two to three persons from Bangladesh have or will come to Bengal. In the last 20 to 25 days, we started combing operations at various stations, bus stands…,” Sharma said.
Police said Samsad and Riazul had come to Kolkata not only to buy arms, but also to indoctrinate sympathisers and lure youths to form a module. Papers with with ‘Esplanade Bus Stand’ and ‘Eden Gardens’ written on them were found in their possession. Sharma said other than a 7.32 mm pistol, a single-shotter pistol, a laptop and pen drives, several books and documents were recovered related to al-Qaeda. “One of the books described how to make explosives, while another was on how to conduct a recce of a location. There was also literature on religious speeches,” he added.
Police also found that the duo had visited a number of chemical shops in Kolkata, and were enquiring about substances used to prepare explosives. Visiting cards of many such shops were recovered from them, said police. “The two illegally entered India and met the arms dealer, Dey, today after deferring the meeting for the past few days. Dey had come with two samples. The duo said they had been staying in India for the last one-and-a-half years, spending nights at railway stations, passenger restrooms and other such places,” Sharma said.
After the Burdwan blasts in 2014, a number of Bangladesh-based Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen operatives, were arrested. In July 2016, the CID arrested one Mosiruddin from the Biswa Bharati Fast passenger train at Burdwan station. A resident of Birbhum, Mosiruddin admitted to links with Islamic State leaders via social networking sites and emails, and stated he was entrusted with the formation of a module in Bengal, said officials.