Indian police have arrested, on Saturday 03/13/2010 night, two suspected militants, identified as Abdul Latif Rashid Sheikh, alias Guddu, 29, and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz, alias Rehan, 23, for allegedly planning attacks in Mumbai, police said on Sunday 03/14/2010.”The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad arrested two terror suspects late Saturday night. The duo have identified three targets — Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) facilities, Mangal Das market and Thakur Mall. The idea was to spread panic particularly in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games that India is not a safe country for foreigners,” a senior police official said. They had been under surveillance for three weeks and the police had been following their phone conversations with their Karachi handler whom they called “Uncle” (see also – ANBIGUOUS PAKISTAN ).
Uncle” was identified by the Indian intelligence as Bashir Khan, alias’chacha‘, thepaternal uncle of Abdul Latif Rashid, a fugitive in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, and a key aide of main accused in the 1993 bombings Tiger Memon. The two suspects are, probably, also associated with fugitive underworld don of Karachi Daoud Ibrahim, police claimed. Daoud Ibrahim was the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Abdul Latif Rashid Sheikh and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz were arrested in Matunga railway station and have been sent to police custody till 03/18/2010. They were in touch with one “uncle” in Pakistan who had asked them to identify terror targets in Mumbai. The strikes were to happen in the next couple of days, the official said. Abdul Latif Rashid Sheikh and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz earned their living doing small jobs, a police officer said. “They are not very educated but seem to be proficient in operating computers. Latif is a resident of Bandra while Riyaz lives in Dahisar. Neither had a previous crime record.”

Almost simultaneously the Gujarat anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Sunday claimed to have logged a major success with the arrest of an alleged Hizbul Mujahideen (see – 42-Camps) terror suspect, Bashir Ahmad Baba, 32, from Anand on Saturday night (see also – Gujarat 10.23.09).

ATS chief Ajay Tomar said Bashir Ahmad Baba, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, had come to Gujarat last month to set up a local network for the Hizbul Mujahideen, based in Pakistan, for recruiting and sending youths for terror training across the border, similar to the mission of Mohammed Amjad, who was arrested in the southern Indian city of Chennai, on 01/18/2010. His handlers have been identified as Bilal Shera and ‘General’ Abdullah (probably refers to Abdullah Uni), both based in Pakistani controlled Kashmir – PoK (see – PK Two Heads ).

Bashir Ahmad Baba is also known as the “Pepsi Bomber” for his ability to assemble improvised explosive devices (IDs) in empty pepsi cans. “Bashir came to Ahmedabad, with some associates, on the pretext of holding training sessions to run medical camps.

He later sent his associates to other parts of Gujarat while he stayed on in Ahmedabad. He would often visit Anand to meet one of his contacts there, to set up a base and develop a wide network for Hizbul Mujahideen. He would call local boys to the camps and pick recruits for terror training in PoK,” Tomar said.

Asked if Bashir had actually managed to send any recruits from Gujarat so far, Tomar said the ATS had reason to suspect so, but it could only be confirmed after further investigations. “He was here to get boys for training and possibly plot a terror strike, but his role in any attack — the Mumbai Carnage or the Ahmedabad Bombings— needs to be probed. So far, the investigations have not linked him to either case,” he said. Bashir is reported to have lured youths with the promise of lucrative job opportunities and higher education facilities — one “recruit” is said to have been told that he would be sent for an MBA course in Pakistan. According to the ATS, Bashir went to Pakistan in 2006, taking along a youth named Arif Gilkar, for terror training. The ATS claimed Bashir had sent many Kashmiri youths to Pakistan.

“Soon after coming to Gujarat, Bashir called a couple of senior Hizbul commanders — Bilal Shera and Abdullah. Bilal Shera is also a Kashmiri and has been staying in PoK for many years. Bilal is a close aide of Sayed Salahuddin. Abdullah was earlier caught for terror activity in Kashmir but later escaped from a Srinagar hospital,” Tomar added.

“The interrogation of Bashir has revealed that another suspected terrorist, Ghulam Rasul, who was known to him, had also come to Gujarat in February,” Inspector of SOG of Anand C N Rajput, who is interrogating Bashir, said. Rasul’s uncle lives in Anand and he had come to visit him, he said.

The Indian police is still looking after about 10 more suspects.

The two suspects Abdul Latif Rashid Sheikh, alias Guddu, and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz, alias Rehan, had received money from a Pakistani national based in Dubai through a UAE financial firm, says the chargesheet filed by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in a local court, on Tuesday 06/08/2010. The chargesheet confirmed that ONGC headquarters, Thakkar Mall in suburban Mumbai and Mangaldas market in South Mumbai were the targets of the conspirators.

On 06/19/2010, when Abdul Latif Rashid Sheikh and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz were produced before the Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate for extension of their judicial custody, the accused submitted a hand written letter to the court alleging torture by the ATS – Anti Terror Squad.

* Yakub Memon, the mastermind of the Mumbay 1993 bombings,  was executed in India on 07/30/2015 at Nagpur Central jail.


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