Anti Terror Probe to focus on Jihadi Police Officers in Kerala

published on July 5, 2009

SIMI meet: Probe focus on former top cops

PNS | Kochi

Even when complaints are coming up from several quarters that the Kerala Police’s Anti-Terror Squad has lost its initial enthusiasm in the investigations into the terror network in the State, there are reports that investigators are now focusing their attention on two former superintendents of police with regard to a meeting held near Kochi three years ago.

This meeting, held by the operatives of SIMI at Panayikkulam village near Aluva off Kochi on the Independence Day of 2006, was said to be the first launchpad of the several blasts carried out by Indian Mujahiddeen in several cities last year. According to the police, the SIMI camp held at Vagamon hill resort in Idukki district in December 2007, was the direct result of the Panayikkulam meeting.

As per reports, the investigators would soon take a decision on questioning the two former SPs in connection with the SIMI meet at Panayikkulam. One of these officials was a former Rural SP of Ernakulam and the other was a native of Panayikkulam. Officials indicated that it was possible that the two former SPs could be listed as accused in the case.

Though the police had clear and prior information about the meeting and they had even conducted a raid, taking into custody some or the participants. But they were released and the case was sabotaged, allegedly due to the pressure from higher-ups. Twelve persons had so far been arrested in the case since the start of the reinvestigation in the context of intense terror operations elsewhere in the country.

According to investigators, apart from the 18 persons who had participated in the meeting, several others could become accused in the case. They also said that there could be more arrested soon. Investigations were progressing and there had been no apathy on the part of the police at any stage, said officials.

The investigators were of the belief that the former SP could have had prior knowledge of the meeting at Panayikkulam. There were reports that one person, whom the police had made the complainant in the case despite the fact that he had participated in the meeting, had stayed at this former official’s house. It had also been rumoured that this official himself had made all the behind-the-scene arrangements for setting those taken into custody free, with the help of a prominent political leader.

Even at the early stages of the investigations, the police had received strong suggestions that terror-accused Shibili and Shaduli, top operatives of SIMI in South India, had got local help to arrange the meeting of the organization at Panayikkulam. The police were now trying to find whether the former SP from the area had any role in this and also to what extent it was if he had played a role.

The allegation against the retired Rural SP was that he had played a pivotal role in letting the participants of the meeting, whom the police had taken into custody from the hall in Panayikkulam, escape by sabotaging the case. Of the total 18 persons who participated I the case, the police had released thirteen persons by registering the arrested of only five persons.

There were allegations that the first information reports in the case were torn off at the police station in the present of this former official. With the pressure on the State police increasing after the Indian Mujahiddeen-sponsored blasts in severl Indian cities, they were forced to take into custody all the 13 persons whom they had released earlier.

The Panayikkulam meeting of the SIMI was said to be the very first major event in the preparation for the terror operations in different Indian cities including Bangalore, Ahmendabad and Delhi. The next step was to provide rough-terrain training for the terrorists and the camp at Vagamon was organized, according to the Gujarat Police, which had held extensive investigations following the Ahmedabad blasts.

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