Suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba member Mohamad Saleem Khan, who was absconding for past nine years, was arrested at the Mumbai airport on a reliable tip-off on July 17, 2017. Soon after Khan landed at Mumbai from the United Arab Emirates he was caught by Police. Long on the radar of the UP ATS after the terror strikes on the Rampur CRPF Camp on 1 January 2008, Khan had several offences registered against him under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, Foreigner Registration Act, etc.
Seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were among eight persons killed and five injured in a well-planned attack by heavily-armed group of terrorists on a camp of the paramilitary force in Rampur on wee hours of 1 January 2008. Khanâs involvement was surfaced in the crime and since then he was absconding. He hails from Hathgaon village of Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh. A joint operation by Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) got success to arrest him as soon as he landed on Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai.The UP ATS got police remand of Khan for seven days on 21st
The UP ATS got police remand of Khan for seven days on 21st July, 2017 from the court where he was produced in Lucknow during transit remand. The agency is likely to interrogate him to trace his possible connections with the terror group in the state. The ATS is also verifying if Saleem funded unrest in Kashmir.
Khanâs involvement in various terrorist and anti-national strikes were allegedly surfaced during investigations. Khan operated his accounts with the name of Salim Danish, an intelligence source revealed in Lucknow. âThe interrogators were trying to extract information from Saleem about terror funding through hawala operations to various terror outfits in India,â IG ATS Asim Arun told Tehelka.
The ATS sources believe that Saleem was responsible for channelising money to sleeper cells active across India and one such agent, Aftab Ali, was recently arrested for spying on military installations from Faizabad district in May. Aftab was working for his Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) handlers in Pakistan.
The arrest of Khan came as a major breakthrough days after Jammu and Kashmir police busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba module and arrested two people. Sandeep Sharma alias Adil, a resident of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, was also questioned last week by the Uttar Pradesh ATS after the arrest.
âLashkar operativeâ Mohammad Saleem Khan had allegedly attended camp in Pakistan with LeT chief Lakhvi.â claimed ATS officers, who interrogated Khan at Mumbai and Delhi. Pakistan based LeT chief Lakhvi is the prime accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. Saleemâs name had figured during questioning of Shareef and Mohammad Kausar, who is facing trial in the Rampur CRPF camp attack case that took place in the midnight of December 31, 2007.
Alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Khan is been interrogated by the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), has reportedly confessed that LeT operation chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had also attended special sessions at the LeT training camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan in 2007. Khan had allegedly also attended the camp and had undergone rigorous training for about a year in Pakistan.
âSaleem confessed during interrogation that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had visited the camp and given a lecture at the training camp in Muzaffarabad. Saleem has so far denied his involvement in any of the terror incidents in India, as he appears to be hard nut to crack easily,â revealed sources who are keeping a close eye on the outcome of his questioning. Security agencies have solid reasons to believe that Saleem has deep knowledge about the penetration of ISI-backed terror groups in the country and could be instrumental to dismantle the terror plots of ISI.
âSaleem confessed that he developed interest in attending training camp in Pakistan and contacted an UAE cleric, who used to give âTaqreerâ (religious sermons) at a mosque in UAE. He allegedly arranged his visit to Pakistan,â claimed an ATS officer. âWhen he reached Karachi Airport, an ISI agent took him to a place where he stayed for two days. He was then taken to Bahawalpur city where he met a senior ISI agent identified as Mohammad Ahmed. Later, Ahmed arranged Saleemâs stay in Bahawalpur for 10 days. Ahmed then sent him with a man to Muzaffarabad on a motorcycle,â he added. Two terrorists nabbed for the 2008 attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur had told police that Khan had acquired terror training in a terrorist camp in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been roped in by the Union Home Ministry to investigate the content of alleged explosive powder found in the state assembly hall below the seat of opposition camp. Thereafter security of the chief minister Yogi Adityanath and state secretariat has been tightened up.