SIMI operatives were involved in robberies in Odisha

Hyderabad/Bhubaneswar: The operatives of terrorist organization Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), two of whom were killed in a gunfight with police in Nalgonda district of Telangana on Saturday, were suspected to be involved in bank and train robberies in Odisha.

Police suspect they were also involved in the robbery in Jharsuguda Gramina Bank of Odisha in May last year and the dacoity in Dhanbad-Alleppey Express near Kesinga railway station of the State, sources said in Hyderabad today.

Police in Telangana continued combing operations for one more terror suspect believed to be holed up in Nalgonda district, where the two SIMI operatives were killed. Six police teams and personnel of elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds are participating in the large-scale operations at different places in Nalgonda district and also a part of neighbouring Warangal district.

Armed policemen were seen checking vehicles on the roads and frisking people at different places especially around Arvapally where the two assailants were thought to be hiding after gunning down two policemen at Suryapet town on the intervening night of April 1-2.

The attackers were killed in a gunfight with police on April 4 morning at Janakipuram. A policeman was killed and two officers were injured. Police suspect that a third suspect may still be hiding in the area.

The suspicion grew stronger after Delhi-Hyderabad AP Express train ticket was found on the body of one of the two operatives. The ticket indicates that a suspect reached Hyderabad by the train on April 2.

Police were trying to find out if a third suspect joined the two a day after the firing at Suryapet. It is not clear if the same suspect was killed in the gunfight or he is still at large.

Since two suspects were seen carrying laptop and other articles at Suryapet and only two mobile phones were found on the bodies on Saturday, investigators are also trying to find out if they managed to handover the items to the third suspect.

Sleuths of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) have also joined the investigations.

As the slain SIMI activists were part of a group of five which escaped from Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh in 2013, a police team from that State has also arrived in Nalgonda. It scoured the bus station in Suryapet where two policemen were gunned down and also the scene of Saturday’s gunfight.

Telangana government had initially denied that the assailants had any links with terrorists but the police have confirmed that they were indeed operatives of SIMI. Telangana police with the help of their counterparts from Madhya Pradesh identified the slain assailants as Mohammed Aijazuddeen and Mohammed Aslam, both residents of Madhya Pradesh.

Telangana director-general of police Anurag Sharma said they were involved in acts of terror in different States. These include firing on BJP leader Pramod Tiwari in Khandwa, dacoities in five banks and a finance company in Madhya Pradesh, killing of a police constable, firing on a judge at Ujjain.

Police suspect they were also involved in the robberies in SBI Choppadandy branch, Karimnagar district, Telangana, blast in Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai Railway Station in May last year, bomb blast in front of Faraskhana police station, near Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple, Pune, recovery of unexploded bomb IED in train at Rewari, Haryana, and blast in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.

They were also believed to be involved in dacoities at Mini Muthootttu group, Ramachandrapuram, Medak district, Telangana, and robbery in HDFC Bank, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.