July 6, 2005
Did the Centre have intelligence inputs as early as May regarding possible terrorist strikes on places of national importance across the country? It seems so, if security measures taken up at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) factories in June are any yardstick.
Security was intensified at HAL units across the country in the first week of June on the basis of intelligence inputs of a possible terror strike, HAL sources said.
At the HAL main factory premises in Bangalore, security officials have since early June barred the entry of private vehicles from the premises while scrutiny of visitors was intensified.
This followed what HAL officials called an intelligence tip-off regarding a ‘‘serious’’ terrorist threat to the country’s premier public sector aircraft manufacturing units.
The intelligence input was taken very seriously by the PSU since a former employee from HAL’s Kanpur complex, Harun Rashid, was arrested on May 12 after he was identified as a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative.
A Delhi Police special cell on May 12 arrested Rashid for his alleged links with the LeT. Rashid who joined HAL as an engineer in 2002, maintained close links with LeT operatives and passed on information regarding HAL, police said. Rashid was found to have been planning an attack on HAL’s Kanpur premises where Dornier aircraft are being manufactured, HAL sources said.
Some of Rashid’s associates were killed last year by Delhi police after they reportedly learnt that the group were planning an attack on the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun.
Today, following the foiled attack at Ayodhya, HAL officials said security remained tight at the establishment.
‘‘We don’t know if the alert issued to us was part of a nationwide alert. Our management was informed by external agencies and we intensified security,’’ said a HAL security official.
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