In a major breakthrough in the Burdwan blast case, Sajid Sheikh — one of the key links in the alleged terror network — was arrested Saturday by the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate of West Bengal and later handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Sajid, who is alleged to be a Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) “commander”.
Over the past two days, three key links in the alleged terror network have been arrested by different police agencies. They include Zia-ul-Haque of Kaliachak in Malda, Sujana Begum from Barpeta in Guwahati and Sajid from the outskirts of Kolkata Saturday.
Zia-ul-Haque was reportedly a “motivator” in the Simulia madrasa and allegedly procured terror videos from the Internet and other sources and showed those to the Simulia madrasa students.
Besides, the NIA has also got the custody of Abdul Hakim — the only survivor of the blast that took place in a Burdwan house on October 2 in which Shakil Ahmed and Sheikh Sovan were killed. Hakim was seriously injured in the blast and, after treatment at SSKM Hospital, was handed over to the NIA Friday.
Announcing Sajid’s arrest, Commissioner of the Bidhannagar police Rajiv Kumar said they had information that Sajid will reach a location on Jessore Road near Dum Dum Airport to take delivery of some money from a “courier”.
Accordingly, the police laid in wait till Sajid came to collect the fund. He was reportedly headed for Jessore in Bangladesh.
“We found the there was some kind of terror funding. We intercepted a courier who was on his way to deliver Rs 1 lakh to Sajid,” said Kumar.
He also said Sajid was a Bangladeshi citizen and had served several terms in jail there. Bidhannagar police sources said Sajid’s identity was first established beyond doubt before making the announcement of his arrest. He was reportedly carrying several identity cards with him, which could be fake.
Police sources said Sajid was largely based at Lalgola in Murshidabad and was a JMB “commander”. He was reportedly one of the end links to the explosives supply chain and responsible for taking explosives consignments to Rajshahi and other destinations in Bangladesh from the porous Lalgola border in West Bengal. Police said Kausar, who is an absconding accused in the case and who used to stay in Burdwan close to Khagragarh, used to take explosives consignments from Shakil Ahmed to locations in Lalgola and Beldanga in Murshidabad.
Sajid and several others used to transport those to Bangladesh, sources added.
The NIA which took custody of Sajid, will produce him before the court Sunday.
Meanwhile, the NIA, in a press release, stated that Zia-ul-Haque had disclosed that he was also closely associated with top JMB commanders, including the absconding Bangladeshi JMB commanders Sajid and Sakib.