THE FOUR SIMI suspects and a woman, who were arrested from Rourkela on Wednesday, had stayed in a house in Bhadrak town earlier, posing as carpenters.
Sheikh Mehboob, Amjad Khan, Zakir Hussain — who had escaped from the Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh in 2013 — their associate Mohammad Salek and Mehboob’s mother Najma Biwi were arrested from Nala Road locality of Rourkela early on Wednesday after an exchange of fire with a joint team of Telangana and Odisha police.
In Rourkela, Mehboob and the others had been staying for the past four months posing as florists. Police were questioning them on the places they stayed while they were on the run and their local contacts.
On Thursday, the sub-divisional judicial magistrate of Rourkela granted 13-day remand of the five persons to Special Task Force of the state CID. The STF will bring the suspects to Bhubanes-war where NIA, IB, and police of eight states, including Karnataka, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh, will interrogate them.
After the photos of the arrested persons were flashed on TV, Munna Khan, a resident of Bhadrak town, told the local police that they had stayed at his house on rent for six months till November last year.
Khan, who had kept the room in Nangamohalla area of Bhadrak locked since November, told the police that the five took the room on rent posing as carpenters. They allegedly told him that they belonged to one family. “They used to go out in the morning and return late evening. They did not speak much,” Khan told Additional SP Bhadrak Asit Mohanty.
Khan said in November last year the five suddenly left the place after locking the room.
Police said after the escape from Khandwa prison in 2013, the accused had stayed in Sambalpur in western Odisha for some time in 2014. Although the Madhya Pradesh police trailed them, by the time they located their hideout, the suspects had left the place.
Meanwhile, the police have arrested Naveen Sahu, an insurance adviser, who had allegedly arranged fake documents for the SIMI suspects, and facilitated them in opening bank accounts in their names.