Kerala ATS questions Madani

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi published on May 13, 2009

The Anti-Terror Squad of the Kerala Police on Wednesday interrogated Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani, an electoral ally of the CPI(M), in connection with the allegations of terror links leveled against him.

The questioning of the PDP chairman by ATS chief, Deputy Inspector General of Police TK Vinodkumar, and his team was based on the statements of the several terror-accused persons now in police custody and depositions by witnesses.

The interrogation was held at Madani’s residence in Kaloor, Kochi. His wife Sufiya, against whom a terror-related investigation was on, was present in the house when the police quizzed him.

Sources said that the ATS interrogation was based on the suspicion that Madani had played a pivotal role in the recruitment of Malayalee youths into the terror network in India run by Lashkar-e-Tayyeba but the police formally maintained that they were just trying to understand the veracity of the statements of the terror-accused.

The Oman-based Malayalee fund-raiser of the LeT and Indian Mujahiddeen, Sarfaraz Nawaz, now in the custody of Kerala ATS, and Indian Mujahiddeen’s explosives expert Abdul Sattar alias Sainudden of Kondotty, Malappuram, had told the police about their connections with Madani. Based on the information collected from these two persons and others, the Karnataka Police had already started moves to question Madani.

Convinced reportedly about the support he might get from the Kerala Home Department, ruled by CPI(M) Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Madani had last month claimed that the Kerala Police would not disturb him even if the Karnataka Police or the Gujarat Police moved against him.

Nawaz, a native of Perumbavoor off Kochi, had told the Karnataka and Kerala sleuths that he had met Madani at his orphanage in Kollam after his release from the Coimbatore prison on August 1, 2007. The LeT fund-raiser, brought by RAW officials from Muscat to Bangalore on March 5, had reportedly arranged the funds for carrying out the explosions in the Garden City of Karnataka and other Indian cities.

Sainuddeen, said to have manufactured all the Indian Mujahiddeen bombs that went off in the different cities, had told the police that he had long-standing association with Madani. The police had found that his daughter Fazeela Beegum had been attending primary school staying at the place of Madani’s wife in Kochi.

Meanwhile, critics suspected that the interrogation of Madani at this juncture by the Kerala ATS could create confusion as far as the investigations by the Karnataka sleuths were concerned. Sources in the Kerala Home Department said the assessments the Kerala ATS made from the questioning could influence the plans of the Karnataka Police.

The questioning of Madani had taken place just when the Kerala Police had intensified a court-ordered probe against his wife Sufia over her alleged role in the sensational terror act of burning a Tamil Nadu State bus at Kalamassery, off Kochi. A court in Aluva near Kochi had on April 1 asked the Kalamassery police to submit its probe report before June 1.

Majeed Parampayi, a key accused in the case of bus-burning, which took place on September 9, 2005, had told the investigators that Sufiya had planned and funded the terror act as a retaliation against the Tamil Nadu authorities for torturing her husband in the Coimbatore prison, where he was lodged in connection with the 1998 serial blasts case.

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