Arrest of SIMI terrorist: STF takes charge of probe

Bhubaneswar: The Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch of Odisha Police on Wednesday took charge of investigation into the arrest of four suspected SIMI terrorists and a woman in Rourkela earlier in the day.

An eight-member team of the STF left for Rourkela today to question the five arrested persons regarding their purpose of staying in Odisha as well activities.

The Crime Branch will move a local court seeking a 15-day remand of the five arrested persons.

Earlier in the day, DGP KB Singh met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat and the Home Secretary to apprise them about the situation.

Later in a press meet, Singh informed that the services of the Tactical Unit were used to arrest the five person for the first times. “All of them were carrying fake documents. They were carrying fake identity proofs and PAN cards. Their upcoming move was to rob a bank in Chhattisgarh,” Singh added.

In a 3-hour-long operation ending in the wee hours on Wednesday, a joint team of Special Operations Group (SOG), Telangana Police, Rourkela Police and Intelligence Bureau raided a house in Qureshi Mohalla in Rourkela and arrested the five.

The five terrorists have been identified as as Mehboob Khan alias Guddu, Zakhir Khan alias Sadiq, Amjad Khan alias Dawood, Saliq alias Sallu and Najma (Mehboob’s mother). All of them are residents of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. They are among the most-wanted terrorists in the country with a Rs 10 lakh reward on each of their heads announced by the NIA.

“They are a part of SIMI and were involved in terror activities in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. They were taking shelter in Rourkela using a false identity. They were staying in Rourkela since past 4-5 months to collect money through dacoity for their other operations. All the four hail from Madhya Pradesh and are wanted by NIA,” said Singh.

“The arrested were involved in 17 blasts at various places. Their records showed that they were involved in the killing of two policemen in Telangana and one in Madhya Pradesh. They had escaped from Khandwa Jail in Madhya Pradesh and in 2013. They also robbed Rs 48 lakh from a bank in Telangana,” revealed police sources.

Security forces also seized 3 pistols, 11 rounds of ammunition and seven guns from their possession, added sources. Meanwhile, no civilian casualties were reported in the operation at a residential area.