Controversies dog probe into bus-burning – Thanks to Terrorist Friendly Kerala Govt;

published on November 23, 2009

Controversies dog probe into bus-burning

VR Jayaraj | Kochi Daily Pioneer

Controversies are continuing to dog the Kerala Police’s probe into the Islamist terror act of burning of a Tamil Nadu State bus in 2005 to press for release of Abdul Nasser Madani from a Coimbatore prison even as the investigators are hopeful that a breakthrough in the terror cases in the State is now possible with the reported arrest of Thadiyantavide Nazeer of Kannur, LeT’s South India chief, in Bangladesh.

The new controversy regarding the probe into the bus-torching case is related to the removal of extremist Omar Farooq from the list of accused. The name of Omar, accused in several terror-related cases, has not figured in the new list of accused presented last week in the court in Aluva off Kochi. As per the first list, Omar was the second accused in the case.

The development has taken place just when several organizations, including the BJP, have come out with protests against the police act of sparing Sufiya Madani, wife of PDP chairman Madani, in the case. According to the statement given to the police by Majeed Parampayi, a former PDP activist, Sufiya had planned, funded and got executed the operation of torching the bus at Kalamassery, off Kochi on September 9, 2005.

In the context of the controversies, State Yuva Morcha president K Surendran alleged on Monday that the CPI(M)-led LDF Government was handling the terror-related cases without seriousness. He said the hesitation shown by the police in extending the probe to Sufiya Madani was proof of this.

The new list of accused in the bus-burning case was prepared by dropping three names from the original list –first accused Sherif and third accused Abdul Rahim, apart from Oman himself. Among these persons, Abdul Rahim was killed in the hands of security forces in Kashmir last year while trying to cross over to Pakistan while there were no other serious cases against Sherif.

However, there are differences of opinion even within the police force over the removal of Omar from the list as he is facing terror-related cases in Kerala. The police had earlier collected witness accounts that pointed to the role played by Omar Farooq in the bus-burning operation. Sources in the Special Branch of Kerala Police said that witness accounts had clearly suggested that Omar was in Kochi on the night of the incident.

At the same time, top Kerala Police officials hoped that the investigations into the terror-related cases in the State as well as outside would get a boost with the arrest of Nazeer in Dhaka. Though the official confirmation from the Indian Home and External Affairs departments on the arrest of Nazeer was yet to come, officials said there was every reason to believe that the man held in Dhaka was the South Indian LeT chief himself.

The State police had received information long back that Nazeer, the chief planner of all the Indian Mujahiddeen bombings in Indian cities and the main conspirator behind the bus-burning act in Kerala, had escaped to Bangladesh. But the assumption was that he could have left Dhaka for Pakistan to join the LeT ranks there. State police officials said it was now obvious that they had been wrong.

Intelligence officials now say that Nazeer could have been coordinating the LeT operations in Bangladesh along with SIMI commander CMA Basheer of Aluva, believed to be hiding in Saudi Arabia presently. It is also assumed that the purpose of the visit by Canadian-Pakistani Tahawwur Hussein Rana to Kochi last year was meeting Shemir, a common contact of Nazeer and Basheer, to plan terror operations in Kerala.

Officials said that they were not yet sure of the international procedures with regard to Nazeer but they hoped to receive crucial information on him soon through the Intelligence Bureau and RAW from the Bangladeshi authorities.

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