Terror arrests: ATS says Hindu leaders were targethttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/terror-arrests-ats-says-hindu-leaders-were-target/

Terror arrests: ATS says Hindu leaders were target

ATS had claimed the module was allegedly involved in bank robberies in MP for terror financing.

The alleged terror module busted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Aurangabad on Monday was apparently planning to assassinate some “Hindu leaders’’ in Maharashtra,ATS sources told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

While two members of the module were arrested and a third was killed in an encounter in Aurangabad on Monday,the ATS arrested two more alleged members of the group from Chikli in Buldhana district early on Tuesday.

The two arrested on Tuesday are Aqeel Khilji (45),who was allegedly SIMI’s chief in Madhya Pradesh,and Mohammed Zaffar Hussain Qureshi (32). The police have recovered a 7.65mm pistol,five live rounds,a pen drive and jehadi literature from the duo. They have also identified two bank accounts operated by Khilji.

Following Monday’s encounter,the ATS said it had arrested Mohammed Abrar Babu Khan alias Abrar Shaikh,a wanted accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. While Qureshi was killed,a third,Mohammed Shakir,was injured and taken into custody.

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The ATS had claimed the module was allegedly involved in bank robberies in MP for terror financing,and that its members were trying to set up base in Maharashtra for similar activities after a crackdown in MP.

“Besides attempting to set up bases in Aurangabad,Jalna and Buldhana and recruit people in the state,they were also planning to assassinate some prominent Hindu leaders in Maharashtra. We suspect these leaders could be from the BJP,VHP or RSS. This was revealed during the initial interrogation of Abrar and Aqeel. However,they have not divulged any specific names yet,and they are being interrogated for more information,” said an ATS source.

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