Arrested SIMI operatives had local contacts: Odisha police

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Bhubaneswar: The four SIMI activists who were arrested at Rourkela during a joint operation with Telangana police had local contacts who arranged houses for them on rent and facilitated their stay in Odisha, according to preliminary probe by the state police.

The four SIMI activists and mother of one of them, who was also held, meanwhile, refused to take legal aid to fight for them in the court of law, as the Special Task Force under Crime Branch of Odisha Police today began interrogation of the operatives.

An eight-member STF team led by Crime Branch IG Arun Kumar Bothra arrived at Rourkela after the local police took the five persons on a seven-day remand.

The STF also moved the local court seeking 30 days remand for the five persons as they were involved in a series of crimes in multiple states.

“Our people have started interrogation of the five persons at Rourkela. We will like to ascertain their activities in the state and their associates who helped them stay in the state as well as arrange fake documents,” said Crime Branch Special DG B K Sharma.

Preliminary investigation have so far shown that the operatives of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had local contacts who arranged houses for them on rent and facilitated their stay in the state, Sharma said. Besides Rourkela, they had also taken shelter in Bhadrak district for some time.

“We would also like to ascertain which crime they were involved in and what were their plans in the state. The police from different states like Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and Uttar Pradesh are likely to interrogate the five persons who took shelter in Rourkela,” Sharma said.

Sharma said the STF would like to share information with other state police.

“We believe, joint interrogation will help to reveal more facts,” he said, adding IG Arun Bothra has already been camping at Rourkela to oversee the interrogation of the five persons.

Director General of Odisha Police B K Singh said the personnel from NIA and IB may also interrogate them.

The four operatives who had escaped from a jail in Madhya Pradesh in 2013 were arrested from Rourkela yesterday following an exchange of fire with security personnel. The mother of one of the operatives was also arrested along with the four.

The four arrested men have been identified as Mohammad Aijajudden, Amjad Khan, Zakir Hussein and Mahboob Guddu.

Additional Public Prosecutor Satya Sharma, who was appearing for the government in the case, said the operatives and mother of one of them refused to take legal aid to fight for them in the court of law. “They turned down legal help,” he said.

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