A key accused in the Bengaluru serial blasts of July 25, 2008, is living in Peshawar, Pakistan, investigations by the NIA and the Kerala police have revealed. K P Sabeer, allegedly linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, had fallen off the radar of investigating agencies after fleeing India on a fake passport in November 2008.
His whereabouts have reportedly emerged now following investigations around K A Anoop, an alleged associate of Sabeer who was deported from the UAE last month. The NIA had arrested Anoop on April 8, 2016 — after he was detained on his arrival at IGI Airport, New Delhi — in connection with the September 2005 Kalamassery (Kochi) bus-burning case.
Sources familiar with the investigations claimed the two were in touch and that analysis of Anoop’s Dubai phone call records has revealed a number linked to Sabeer. “He has been trying to take his wife to Pakistan and has been offering 100,000 dirhams to obtain travel documents for her. This is the first time in many years that some information has emerged about Sabeer,” said sources.
Apart from the Bengaluru serial blasts, Sabeer alias Mohammed Sabeer alias Ayub, a former president of the SIMI in Kerala, is an accused in a number of cases, including the bus-burning case and a 2008 plot to facilitate terror training for youths from Kerala.
The NIA’s investigations in the 2008 case allegedly found that Sabeer had taken five youth — Fayas, Fayis, Abdul Rahim, Mohd. Yasin and Abdul Jabbar — to Kashmir in September 2008 and handed them over to an LeT operative. The youths were allegedly being taken to an LeT camp for training but four of them were killed in an encounter with Indian security forces. Abdul Jabbar, the only one to escape, was later arrested by Kerala Police.
The killing of the four and the investigations around their presence in Kashmir led investigators to unravel the mystery behind the Bengaluru blasts, which were allegedly executed with LeT funding, with Sabeer allegedly acting as the key Indian conduit in channelling funds and mobilising men for the Pakistan-based terror organisation.
Investigators say that once they got wind of the plots in the 2008 blasts case and the Kerala terror recruitment case, Sabeer fled India through Mumbai on a forged passport on November 21, 2008.
According to the NIA, he used the passport of a daily wager, Shameer Kollamkudy Alikutty, who is still living in Kerala, to escape. The NIA has found an airport departure card, which showed that he left for Dubai on an Air India flight. “In the departure card, the country of residence has been mentioned as the UAE whereas the occupation was written as sales executive,” the NIA says.
The fake passport was later found in a hotel on Kish Island in Iran, a few months after Sabeer left.
Agencies also suspect that Sabeer’s “escape” was facilitated by the then key LeT commander for the India region, Rehan alias Wali alias Abdul Aziz alias Rashid Abdullah, who has also been linked to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Wali is also been named along with Sabeer in the plot to recruit Kerala youths for terrorism.
The role of Pakistan-born Canadian national Tahawwur Rana, another 26/11 accused and LeT linked operative, is also suspected in Sabeer’s “escape”. Rana, an immigration consultant who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison in the US for, among other things, helping LeT man David Headley set up office in Mumbai ahead of the 26/11 LeT attacks, was in India around the time Sabeer left.