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City cops book gang of 14 linked to banned terror outfit in Tamil Nadu

A joint investigation conducted by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Police, along with the state intelligence, revealed a plot allegedly being hatched in Bengaluru by members of a banned outfit Al-Ummah to ‘foment communal disharmony.’

The sleuths of the Central Crime Branch have alleged that the members of the outfit were in Bengaluru and were planning to “target people from other communities.” They were also allegedly expecting a large cache of arms, the sleuths said.

The CCB filed a complaint with Sudduguntepalya police near BTM Layout in Bengaluru against a man identified as Mehaboob Pasha, who is allegedly the kingpin of the group. Following the input, the police filed a case against Pasha and 13 of his associates under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

A joint investigation conducted by the CCB, Internal Security Division ISD and State Intelligence revealed that Mehaboob Pasha and his associate Moideen Khaja were members of the banned outfit Al-Ummah and had held several meetings in Pasha’s residence in Bengaluru to form a splinter group.

Pasha is still at large and the police suspect he is currently in Chamarajanagar. Pasha and Moideen Khaja’s involvement came to light after the Q branch of Tamil Nadu’s CCB arrested three persons on January 7 from the city in connection with the murder of a Hindu Munnani member, Suresh Kumar, in 2014.

“Mohammed Pasha was one of the kingpins of the gang of which three persons were arrested on January 7 from Suddaguntepalya. In total, there were 14 associates of Pasha’s who were planning to foment communal disharmony in various parts of the country. They all had a foreign handler,” CCB Chief in Bengaluru Sandeep Patil said.

Police say that Pasha and Khaja had been in touch with their foreign handler and had expected a huge cache of arms to arrive in the city soon.

After the three accused in the murder of Hindu Munnani leader Suresh Kumar were arrested, the CCB sleuths in Bengaluru also learnt that the three were members of a separate outfit and the 14 persons in the group met allegedly at Pasha’s house to plan out activities. It is not clear what activities the outfit has planned.

On January 7, the Tamil Nadu police arrested Mohammed Haneef Khan (29), Imran Khan (32), and Mohammed Zaid (24) from Soladevanahalli, Vivek Nagar and HSR Layout. These three persons were arrested in connection with the murder of the Hindu Munnani member Suresh Kumar in 2014.

Two days later, the Delhi police arrested Moideen Khaja, Syed Ali Nivas and Abdul Samad. Khaja was part of the CPI(M) in the 1990s, according to the police. He was arrested in 2004 from Cuddalore for allegedly running a camp that carried out weapons training. In 2014, the Hindu Munnani leader Suresh Kumar was allegedly killed and Khaja was named as the mastermind by the police.

After the murder of Suresh Kumar, Al-Ummah was banned. The outfit also had a ‘Jehad Committee’ in Tamil Nadu, which was disbanded and several of its members, who were in Bengaluru, allegedly decided to form their own outfit. Police say that the group also met at a house in Vivek Nagar and the persons residing there were constantly in touch with the foreign handler.

“When the Jehad Committee disbanded, its members went to Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala and some were in Tamil Nadu. The plan was to target various communities in Bengaluru and instigate violence,” the police said.

Police say that Khaja, Syed and Samad, who were arrested in Delhi were allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in Delhi-NCR. The three accused, who had absconded from the country, allegedly entered India via Nepal last year and had planned to carry out attacks in various parts of the country.

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