At a time when multiple teams of Tamil Nadu and Kerala police are looking for two alleged Islamic extremists who shot a policeman near a Kanyakumari checkpost last week, two key names have emerged before the investigators.
These comprise a 30-year-old computer expert from Kaliyikkavila near Kanyakumari and a 40-year-old Bengaluru-based man allegedly tasked with radicalising Muslim youth.
According to a senior officer, three Bengaluru youths currently being interrogated in Chennai — Mohamed Haneef Khan (29), Imran Khan (32) and Mohamed Zaid (24) — were associates of C Khaja Moideen (52), who was arrested from Delhi last week. Moideen, S Syed Ali Nawas (25), a terror suspect arrested with Moideen, and Abdul Shamim (25), one of the two accused of killing the police officer, were allegedly handling the youths in Bengaluru, it is learnt.
A senior officer said there were two more major players in the network — Sayyid Ali, in his 30s, and Mehaboob, in his 40s. “The Bengaluru youths were radicalised recently by Mehaboob. He did that job for Moideen. Mehaboob disappeared from Bengaluru immediately after the three youths were arrested. We are probing more such radicalised youths in his network,” the officer said.
Police have learnt that Sayyid Ali is an expert in computer and mobile technology and can use circuit boards from cellphones to operate devices that control explosives. On Sunday evening, police rushed to his home at Kaliyikkavila. “He had fled before we reached. Multiple teams are searching for Ali and Mehaboob,” the officer said.
Wilson (57), a special sub-inspector of Tamil Nadu police, was shot dead last week at a checkpost near Kaliyakkavilai. His body also bore stab injuries. Using CCTV footage, police identified the accused as Shamim and Thowfic (27), both from Kanyakumari.
According to investigators, two packages were sent from Mumbai to Bengaluru in Moideen’s name and received at the address of the youths being interrogated. “Both packages had pistols. We have evidence of the second package with three pistols and bullets,” said an officer.
Over a dozen people who were in touch with the two accused of killing the police officer are being interrogated. Praveen Kumar Abinapu, DIG (Tirunelveli range), told The Indian Express on Monday that they have some clues about the whereabouts of Shamim and Thowfic. “We will arrest them soon,” he said.
Police allege that all three Bengaluru youths and the three arrested in Delhi are sympathisers of Islamic State, and had links to groups such as Jamaat-e-Islami, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath and Hizbut-Tahrir.
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