Tuesday, September 30, 2008

7 killed in bike blasts as terror revisits Malegaon


(Two years after cycle bombs killed 31 people in Malegaon, the textile town in northern Maharashtra was struck again, this time by bombs believed to have been placed on a bike)


Mateen Hafeez & Yogesh Naik | TNN

Malegaon: Two mysterious blasts in the heart of Malegaon killed seven persons, including a 12-year-old girl and a woman, on Monday night and injured 30.

The blasts occurred outside the SIMI office at about 9.30 pm when a Ramzan special prayer was being offered in all mosques across the textile town.

Two of those wounded were reportedly injured when police opened fire to disperse a mob that had barged into the Azad Nagar police chowky located barely 15 metres from the blast site. Three policemen were also reportedly hurt. Curfew has been imposed in central Malegaon.

The wounded, among them a 16-year-old student, Azhar Ahmed from Islampura, were rushed to nearby hospitals.

Inspector general of police S P Gupta (Nasik range) said it appeared to be a lowintensity IED blast. Senior police officers had earlier described these as cylinder blasts while angry locals insisted that bombs had been set off. A Hero Honda motorbike, which was parked at the blast site, was completely mangled.

The historic Bhikku Chowk area in which the blasts occurred is located among three mosques and is barely 300 metres away from Mushwerath Chowk where four powerful cycle bombs had exploded in September 2006, killing 31 people and injuring 297. Nine SIMI suspects had been arrested in those blasts.

Additional SP (Malegaon) Sanjay Patil said the blasts took place on a motorcycle. “Soon a huge mob gathered and pelted stones at the police. We fired five rounds in retaliation. The crowd prevented the police from entering the area. There is tension and we have summoned additional forces.
The mob attacked us brutally,’’ he added.

Four companies of the State Reserve Police have been deployed in the troubled area. Malegaon sub-divisional magistrate Ajay More said that the situation on Monday night was quite tense. “Three policemen, including an IPS probationer Viresh Prabhu, are injured. Prabhu was hit by a stone and has a big gash on his head. We have admitted the policemen to Wadia Hospital,’’ he said.

Residents of Malegaon have alleged that Monday’s blasts were a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation two days prior to Eid. “I saw people running
helter-skelter on the road and youths taking the injured to the hospital,’’ said Khaleel Ahmed who lives in the vicinity.

This area is near Anjuman Chowk, which happens to be Malegoan’s women’s market. Thousands of women were shopping at the time of the blasts. The SIMI office had been functional until the outfit was banned on October 24, 2001. Bhikku Chowk also houses about six tea stalls.

A team of forensic experts from Nashik is headed for Malegaon to gather evidence. A team from the anti-terrorism squad has also arrived in Malegaon, ATS chief Hemant Karkare said.

The Times of India, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

These tenants in Kurla get ‘guests’ these days

IN THE SOUP: The tenants say that a team of police personnel had visited them inquiring about Bhatkal in July 2007

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Tenants of two rooms in Qadir Building, Kurla, are getting unexpected guests these days—sleuths from the Mumbai crime branch.

The occupants of the two rooms, which are owned by the family of terror suspect Roshan Jamal alias Riyaz Bhatkal, know why the officers are dropping by. They have been told that Bhatkal’s name has cropped up after some recent bomb blasts, which explains the visits by the crime branch sleuths.

Bhatkal’s father Mohammed Ismail Shah Bundri was last seen in Mumbai on April 16 this year, when he had gone to collect rent for the two rooms. The 60-year-old, two-storey building is located close to the vegetable market in Kurla (W).

The two first-floor rooms have been rented out for Rs 2,200 a month each. The tenants say they have paid 11 months’ rent in advance. The families occupying the two rooms are from Nagore in Rajasthan and Kurla. “We came here in May last year and entered into an agreement with the owners. In July 2007, a team of police personnel arrived here inquiring about Bhatkal. We didn’t know who Bhatkal was and told the same to the police. They took our names, permanent address and telephone numbers and left. The police now come looking for Bhatkal any time,’’ said a woman in her mid 30s, requesting anonymity.

Another resident said a team of “three-four persons’’ visited their room a few days ago. “They told us that they were from an investigating agency. They did not bother to show their IDs, give their names or contact numbers to us. Instead, they did a thorough inquiry and left,’’ said the woman.

Bhatkal’s father, along with his two sons and two daughters, stayed in these rooms till 2006. “The family rented out the rooms due to the frequent visits by the police and perhaps went to their hometown, Bhatkal, in Karnataka,’’ said
a resident.

The crime branch has described Bhatkal as co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The police say it was he who supplied 10 kg of gelatin and ammonium nitrate, 15 detonators, 8 kg of ball bearings, four fully active electronic circuits used in bombs. The consignment was seized in Mumbai after Bhatkal’s protege and IM’s sec
ond-in-command Sadiq Shaikh was caught last Tuesday.

The crime branch had claimed that “the slain terrorist, Atif Ameen, who was also involved in the Ahmedabad bomb blasts, would report to Sadiq Shaikh. In turn, Sadiq would report to his mentor Roshan Jamal, controller of the Indian Mujahideen’’. The police suspect that Bhatkal is operating his gang from Pakistan.

His name first figured after the Gateway of India and Kalbadevi blasts in August 2003. Two ATS teams visited his home in Karnataka immediately after the 2006 train blasts in Mumbai but returned empty-handed.

No resident of Qadir Building knows much about Bhatkal’s academic background. While a few say he is a Std XII passout, others say he is a civil engineer who hardly stays with his family.


CRIME DIARY
Roshan Jamal is an accused in the following blasts cases

Oct 29, 2005 | Paharganj, Sarojini Nagar and Gopal Nagar in Delhi
March 7, 2006 | Sankat Mochan temple, Kashi Viswanath temple in Varanasi (unexploded) July 11, 2006 | Mumbai local trains
Nov 24, 2006 | Faizabad
May 25, 2007 |
Gorakhpur market
Aug 25, 2007 | Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat in Hyderabad
May 23, 2008 | Jaipur
July 24, 2008 | Bangalore
July 25, 2008 | Ahmedabad serial explosions
July 26, 2008 | Surat (bombs defused)
Sept 13, 2008 | Delhi

The Times of India, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tauqeer has Osama as friend on ‘profile’

Networking Site Also Features Terror Suspect Killed In Delhi; Police Don’t Rule Out Foul Play

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Alleged Indian Mujahideen operative Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer’s friend is none other than al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, if one goes by his profile on a social networking website.

Senior police officials who spoke to TOI about the “discovery’’ said they would investigate the matter, but did not rule out any random user creating Tauqeer’s profile. The scrapbook entries could well have been made by someone else as several celebrities had, in the past, complained to the cyber crime cell about the creation of false profiles or modification of the existing ones on such sites.

The second friend is from Ludhiana, a person called Michael Soni, whose details are not available. Tauqeer’s location on Orkut has been given as Afghanistan.

Tauqeer (36), a resident of Mira Road, has been absconding since the 2006 serial bomb blasts on Mumbai’s suburban trains. According to the Ahmedabad police, his name cropped up during the probe of the serial blasts. The site also has Tauqeer’s photograph, the only one available (see box), which has been released by the anti-terrorism squad. Tauqeer’s professional profile describes him as the prime suspect in the Delhi serial blasts.

While there are 19 entries in his scrapbook, there is no video or photograph of him in the picture album. Of the 19 scrap entries, five have been sent by ‘Osama’ between September 20 and 22.
While the latest one was sent around 12.30 pm on Saturday, the first was posted on September 20, incidentally by Osama. The first entry comes
seven days after the serial blasts in Delhi.

In his profile Tauqeer writes, “India ki tabahi sirf ek mahine mein.’’ The Englishspeaking Tauqeer also says he is on the networking site for activity partners. About his passion, the profile says, “next blast Bangalore main’’; in the sports column, the profile says, “lakhon logon ki jaan

mere haath mein’’.

Osama’s entry says, “Tauqir bhai, Sukhpal ko ishara kar dena ki RDX pahunch gya hai. Kal Amritsar se train mein rakhwa denge’’.

Another scrap entry is on Safdar Nagori, former national general secretary of SIMI,
which says, “Nagori bhai jaan he sehmet hai is faisle se.” The third, written on September 20, says, “Thoda intezaar kar le, poori Delhi police hamari talash mein hai’’, while the next scrap states, “agla blast Bangalore main karenge’’.

Interestingly, Osama wrote all the entries in Hindi. Two photographs from a porn site abusing Tauqeer are also there in the scrapbook. Tauqeer’s profile says his ideal match is “Osama ka attack”, while his idea of a perfect first date is “India ka Laden’’. The column, five things he cannot live without, include “poora India khatam’’; the profile goes on to say that in my bedroom, you will find “sirf serial bombs.’’

The second such profile on the site is that of Atif Ameen alias Atiq, who was killed in a police encounter in Delhi on September 19. There is one video, 12 photographs and 274 scraps, which are locked for random users. Atif ’s communities include one dedicated to the poet, Dr Iqbal, who wrote Saare jahaan se accha, Hindustan hamara”, another one called My city Azamgarh and Sikkim Manipal University. Atif has 23 friends on the site.

The profile states that Atif knows languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Bihari, English and Bengali. About himself, he writes, “musibat bhi sharifon ki izzat nahi karti, jo jal jaye agar sona to keemat kam nahi hoti’’.

Atif says he smokes socially but does not drink. The book he likes is Arheekul Makhtoom (The Nectar Sealed). He also says he hates music but liked Rang De Basanti and Mother India. His phone numbers were also given on the networking site.

The Times of India, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Indian Mujahideen website a big ‘catch’

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: If the Bard of Avon had been an internet entrepreneur, he would probably never have asked, “What’s in a name?” Names that excite curiosity are coveted in cyberia, and a young entrepreneur from Nagpada is cashing in on this. His internet domain, named after the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, got more than 400 hits this month, and is up for sale.

Not surprisingly, 23-year-old Samir Ansari, owner of www.indianmujahideen.com, was questioned by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and also by the police in Khar, where his web hosting company, Samruz IT Services, is located. Police have given Ansari a clean chit.

Although the domain hasn’t found a buyer yet, it still means business, because every time someone visits the site, Ansari gets money from advertisers. The ads
themselves are a motley and kaleidoscopic assortment—army jobs, tower desktops, Indian matrimonials, Bollywood videos, and even a link to the Wikipedia entry for the CIA.

Mobile number helped crack case
Atemporary mobile connection used by blast accused Riyaz Bhatkal alias Roshan Khan gave the Mumbai police the lead that led them to the Indian Mujahideen terror module. One of the numbers found in Bhatkal’s cell record was traced to Mumbai and belonged to Sadiq Sheikh, who spilled the beans.

P 3
A Rs 280 domain
Mumbai: The ATS summoned Samir Ansari, owner of www.indianmujahideen.com, on September 20, and questioned him about his company, employees, business partners, and so on. Two days later, he was called in by the Khar police station to give a statement. “We called Ansari for inquiries, but did not find anything suspicious,’’ confirmed ATS additional commissioner, Sukhvindar Singh.

Ansari, who has a bachelor’s degree in management studies from Rizvi College, Bandra, created the domain name indianmujahideen.com on July 30, four days after the Ahmedabad blasts.”I’m in the business of buying and selling domain names. So when any name, person or place is in the news, we create a website and get it registered with advertising companies. The main thing is that the domain name should be in the news, or something that people are likely to
search for,’’ said Ansari.

He has parked the domain with Sedo.com, a domain parking company based in Germany. It costs Ansari all of Rs 280 to create a domain name.

About the questioning by ATS, Ansari said, “They asked me about my business and the domain name that I had created. I even offered them my password. The cops were satisfied, and even said I need not close down the site. They instructed me to approach them if anyone came forward to buy the domain name.’’

Ansari is the second of five siblings in a well-to-do family that originally hailed from
Uttar Pradesh. His 15-monthold company, whose services range from web development to domain parking to internet marketing, has 241 domain names registered so far. Like indianmujahideen.com, they are uploaded for advertising.

“When a net surfer keys in
our domain name, we get a fixed amount from the advertising companies. When I heard about the Indian Mujahideen, I didn’t know what it was, but I thought people would search for it, so we took this domain name. Domain names on the net are like a property. We register them, and sell later, when a buyer comes along,’’ he said.

People register domain names of filmstars and models, such as Salman Khan.com and AmitabhBachchan.com, says Ansari. You can even find AlQaeda.com on the net. It’s owned by a domain parking company in Washington, DC. The domain was created on April 28, 2004, and it will expire on April 28, 2009.’’ US nationals have also registered the domain names taliban.com and LashkarEToiba.com.


ABCs OF DOMAIN PARKING
Domain parking is an advertising practice used mainly by registrars of domain names and internet advertising publishers. It helps convert type-in traffic into cash. Those who own domains are called domainers. They, along with advertisers, comprise the domain-parking platform. Advertisers pay the domainparking company to promote their site online. TNN

Friday, September 26, 2008

‘Almost all the suspects had been trained in Pak’

S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Pakistan government may deny it, but the Mumbai police are claiming they have enough evidence to prove that most of the Indian Mujahideen suspects who were arrested on Wednesday had undergone extensive training there.

Crime branch chief Rakesh Maria said that Mohd Sadiq Sheikh was the person who would identify youngsters and indoctrinate them. “He would zero in on people who could be sent across the border for training. We are questioning him to find out the details ,’’ he said. According to Maria, Ansar Sheikh, Sadiq Sheikh, Zakir Sheikh and Arif Sheikh had undergone training in Pakistan for a period of 21-45 days in the last three years.

“Some of them had gone for training to Pakistan via Tehran. They went to Iran and from there the suspects used cars to reach Pakistan. After reaching Pakistan, they were taken to Phulwara camp on the outskirts of Karachi and trained for almost a
month,’’ said an officer.

During the course of their training, they were asked to study books in the Lashkar-e-Taiba library where literature from all over the world was collected. “They were indoctrinated on various issues connected to the Gu
jarat riots and the atrocities on Indian Muslims,’’ he added.

“The trips were financed by their controllers in Pakistan including Amir Raza,’’ said the officer. In Pakistan, Raza and Roshan Khan alias Riyaz Bhatkal ensured
that their passports were not embossed with Pakistani stamps.

The training included reading, horse riding, target shooting, assembling devices for making bombs, using the digital timers and use of mobile phone bombs. A training on chemical bombs and their composition was also imparted. “The trainees would never reveal their original names to their colleagues,’’ said investigating officer Dinesh Kadam.

The police are also in the process of preparing a list of businessmen from Dubai and Pakistan who acted as agents to send hawala money to the operatives in Mumbai. “Sadiq revealed that after every blast, the module got funds from Roshan Khan and Amir in the range of Rs 2 to 3 lakh depending on the impact of the explosions,’’ the police said.

Two teams of the Mumbai crime branch reached Azamgarh (UP) on Wednesday with a list of suspects but failed to carry out any arrests. “Most of the suspects may have fled after the news of the arrests in Mumbai broke out on news channels,’’ sources said.

The Times of India, September 26, 2008

WHAT’S THE TRUTH?


ATS praises crime branch

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), specially created to counter terrorism, has only compliments for the crime branch that has cracked the terror module.

The ATS has been on the job since the Ahmedabad bomb blasts and found some links in Mumbai. Three terror mails orginated from Mumbai and the ATS used all its resources to trace their orgin but failed as the senders turned out to be more tech-savvy. The ATS even subjected nine suspects to lie-detector and brain-mapping tests, hoping to crack the terror email, but everything came to naught.

But ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who has served in the Research and Analysis Wing for nine years, appreciates the good work that the Crime Branch has done. “We should see entire Mumbai Police as one force. We are all working together to fight terrorism. The Crime Branch has detected the case and we must compliment them,’’ he said on Thursday, a day after Wednesday’s police briefing that had several senior officials but not him. “I was busy in another important meeting,’’ he told TOI.

“The suspects were lucky to dodge us,’’
he replied when asked why the ATS had failed to do the job. “We will analyse how they avoided intelligence agencies and the police radar after we question them,’’ he said.

But no one in police circles has missed the obvious irony. The Crime Branch has proclaimed Mohammad Sadiq Sheikh to be the Indian Mujahideen brain in India at a time when the ATS has launched a manhunt for Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer following the Ahmedabad blasts and the spate of terror e-mails that originated from Mumbai. The ATS suspected that Tauqeer, a techie, had played a vital role in sending the mails and also orchestrating the blasts. The ATS also released his picture to the media.

But the ATS chief does not see anything in the different line his team has been following. “It was the Gujarat Police that tipped us off about Tauqeer. And we never said he sent the terror e-mails. His role will be ascertained once he is arrested,’’ Karkare said.


Tauqeer was initially hyped as the Indian Mujahideen boss, something that the Crime Branch probe has found to be “wrong’’; Sadiq, instead, has emerged as the IM numero uno. The Crime Branch also suspects that another of the five arrested, computer engineer Mohammad Ansar Sheikh, could be behind the emails.

The Times of India, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

5 IM suspects held in Mumbai, police say terror strike foiled

THE IM OPERATIVES HAD IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS PAK NATIONALS —JOINT CP (CRIME) RAKESH MARIA

All Recent Attacks Their Handiwork’

S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Mumbai police on Wednesday claimed to have pre-empted a possible terror attack on the city and cracked the Indian Mujahideen (IM) jigsaw puzzle after arresting five alleged operatives from four different places in and around the city in raids conducted over the last few days.

The five, they said, were responsible for stealing four cars from Navi Mumbai, two of which were used in the July blasts in Ahmedabad. The remaining two cars, laden with explosives, were recovered from Surat streets.


Mumbai commissioner of police Hasan Gafoor said one of the five arrested, Mohammad Sadiq Sheikh, was also a founder member of the Indian Mujahideen.Officials said Sadiq had “controlled’’ the Delhi IM module head Atiq (gunned down in last week’s encounter), and added that he was quite high up in the IM hierarchy. Additional commissioner of police Deven Bharti said Sadiq had been in touch with the Atiq module three days before its members were shot dead in Delhi.

Officials said the five had also confessed to planting some of the bombs on Mumbai’s trains on July 11, 2006, giving a new twist to the case.


THE BOMB
SQUAD
SADIQ SHEIKH (FOUNDER, INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN)
Age: 31
Permanent Address: Sanjarpur in UP’s Azamgarh district
Temporary Address: Cheetah Camp, Trombay, Mumbai
Profession: Programme engineer in an electronics company in Mumbai
Link In Chain: He is said to be one of the founder-members of Indian Mujahideen. He controlled the outfit’s Delhi terror module chief
Atiq, who was killed in last week’s encounter in Delhi

AFZAL USMANI (CAR THIEF)
Age: 32
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address: Nehru Nagar, Kurla
Profession: Scrap dealer
Link In Chain: Belongs to the Fazl-ur-Rahman gang. Said to have stolen the four cars from Navi Mumbai used in the Gujarat blasts, planted bombs in Ahmedabad. Has 9 cases, including one under MCOCA

MOHD ARIF SHEIKH (BOMB-WIREMAN)
Age: 38
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address: Mumbra
Profession: Electrician
Link In Chain: Is said to be an expert in setting up the electronic circuits used in bombs; has been doing this since 2005. Planted the car bombs in Surat that were detected and defused before they exploded
MOHD ZAKIR SHEIKH (BOMBER)
Age: 28
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address: Bhiwandi
Profession: Scrap dealer
Link In Chain: Vital link who would shuttle between Mumbai and Surat for his
trade; was one of the persons who planted the Ahmedabad bombs and went to Pakistan for weapons and explosives training
SHEIKH MOHD ANSAR (SOFTWARE EXPERT)
Age: 31
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address: Cheetah Camp
Profession: Software engineer
Link In Chain: Is one of IM founder-member Sadiq’s closest associates. He is believed to have trained in Pakistan in 2004 and is the unquestioned electronics expert in the group

Breakthrough came with car thief’s arrest, say police

Mumbai: All the five suspected terrorists arrested by the Mumbai police—Mohd Sadiq Sheikh (who is a father of three), Afzal Usmani, Mohammad Arif Sheikh, Mohammad Zakir Sheikh and Sheikh Mohammad Ansar—are from Azamgarh in UP. Police officials said they had been arrested from various locations in and around Mumbai—Nehru Nagar (Kurla), Cheeta Camp (Trombay) and Mumbra and Bhiwandi (both in Thane)—in the last two days.

Significantly, neither chief of the anti-terrorism squad Hemant Karkare nor DGP A N Roy were present at the press meet. Sadiq, the undisputed leader of the module, was a programme engineer in an electronics company, officials said. But the e-expert in the group was software engineer Ansar, they added. The organisation, officials said, was bac
ked by the HuJI and LeT.

Officials claim to have recovered a huge cache of explosives and arms from hideouts in Kurla and Sewri. The gelatin sticks, ammoni
um nitrate, detonators, ball bearings, electronic circuits, sub-machine gun, revolvers and cartridges found were enough to cause mayhem in Mumbai, the police said.

Officials said it was Sadiq who would take money and instructions from Pakistan-based Amir Reza and Roshan Khan. He would then pass them on to his module members and they would choose their targets. The five would then take up houses on rent to assemble their deadly cocktail. Joint CP (crime) Rakesh Maria said the first breakthrough came from Afzal, who was arrested by the property cell in connection with the car thefts from Navi Mumbai.


Afzal was arrested a week ago, Maria said, but he broke down on Tuesday. “We are still to arrest many from Mumbai and its outskirts who gave these people logistical support in making, planting and transporting bombs,’’ he said. Inquiries revealed the group had been active for a few years. “The module is responsible for planting bombs in Jaunpur, Sankat Mochan, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Faizabad and Ahmedabad,’’ Gafoor said.

The Times of India, September 25, 2008

Ansar behind terror emails: Crime branch

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad’s probe into the terror mail sent by Indian Mujahideen by hacking into a Khalsa College computer is yet to make any breakthrough but the city crime branch suspects that arrested software engineer Sheikh Mohammad Ansar could be behind the all five terror mails sent to news channels before and after the recent series of blasts across the country.

If what the crime branch is saying turns out to be true, then this will be the ATS’s second embarrassment, say officials; the ATS has also failed to nab top terror suspect Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer despite trying for the last one month.

Some ATS officials have said college drop-out Tauqeer is a cyber expert and is the prime suspect behind the recent terror mails. But the crime branch’s Wednesday dis
closures — that Ansar is a software expert — have made him the prime suspect in the terror e-mail trail. ATS has roped in experts from the Ethical Hackers’ Association, NASSCOM and other software agencies but everything has been in vain.

Ansar, a computer engineer from a Mumbai college, has been staying in Mumbai since 2000. “We have seized his laptop and a computer. We are still examining the seizures and will be sending them for cyber analysis. We strongly suspect that he has sent the e-mail but it will be premature to say anything beyond that right now,’’ crime branch chief Rakesh Maria said.

Ansar, father of a baby boy and a resident of Cheetah Camp near Trombay, is believed to have gone to Bangladesh for a two-month training session. “He went to Bangladesh in 2004 for a training in firearms and bombs. But the training also included use
of advanced software and technology,’’ Maria said.

Ansar, arrested on Wednesday afternoon, is said to be
Sadiq Sheikh’s right-hand man. “We are probing the WiFi angle in the terror mail and Ansar’s role in sending the mail,’’ another crime branch official said. Ansar’s mobile records are also being analysed.

Khalsa College does away with WiFi system

Hemali Chhapia | TNN

Mumbai: Khalsa College has dismantled its expensive WiFi (wireless fidelity) internet system. The Matunga college was under the scanner following a terror mail whose internet protocol (IP) address was traced to the institution’s computer laboratory.

“After the terror mail was traced to our college, we took all steps to secure our internet connection. We have eliminated the WiFi connection from our campus. Instead, we have enabled the cable internet connection,’’ principal Ajit Singh told TOI.

Taking a cue, several other city colleges, like Ruia, too
are reviewing their WiFi security connections. Vicechancellor Vijay Khole has also called for securing the WiFi connection on the Kalina campus.

A faculty member of Khalsa College pointed out that the college management was shocked when security experts said that even a password-protected WiFi connection could be hacked into. “So the college decided to approach a cable operator,’’ he added.

In the neighbourhood, Ruia College—which has WiFi connection in their reading hall—has also decided to “review the facility’’.

THE TRAIL
A terror e-mail was sent by hacking into one of the computers of Khalsa College on July 23.
The eight-page mail was sent from alarbi.alhindi-@gmail.com and threatened ATS officers of Mumbai and some Gujarat cops.

The mail was sent at 7.03 pm to a news channel, which forwarded a copy to the cyber crime cell and the ATS.

The Times of India, September 25, 2008

‘Suspects had planted 2006 bombs as well’


S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The five Indian Mujahideen operatives have told officials during interrogations that they also planted the bombs on local trains in July 2006, when 188 Mumbaikars died in one of the worst terror attacks on the city.

But, if what the city crime branch is saying is borne out to be true after a more thorough probe, then it raises serious doubts about the ATS’s earlier claims of having cracked the case in 2006 with the arrest of 13
LeT members, say officials.

The crime branch revelation assumes special significance as the 13 train blasts accused have protested their innocence in court. This may not mean too much but the main accused, Faisal Sheikh, has also told the Enforcement Directorate that he is innocent in the 2006 blasts case but had gone to Pakistan for training in handling arms and explosives. The ED has also told the ATS about this development.

Some officials now feel the 13 arrested for their role in the 2006 blasts had taken training in explosives and arms but were members of LeT sleeper cells.

Officials also recalled a similar embarrassment that cops suffered in 2003 when a group of senior officers were found trying to mislead investigations in the 2003 twin blasts by arresting a module that was not even related to the attacks.

“The five IM operatives had identified themselves as Pakistanis and people in the neighbourhoods where they stayed thought they were actually from Pakistan. The chargesheet in the 2006 train blasts case mentions the involvement of some Pakistanis and these five were part of the that module,’’
joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said.

Officials said the five suspects were in touch with Mohammad Ali, who was caught for his role in the 2006 train blasts. The ATS claimed that all the seven bombs placed on seven trains
were manufactured at Ali’s 100-sqft rented room in Govandi.

The ATS kept Ali in its custody for almost two months but could not extract information about the “Pakistani nationals’’. The ATS said the Pakistanis left the country after planting the bombs. But the crime branch probe shows that
the five “Pakistanis’’ were very much in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.

The Times of India, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

‘IM had used Quran verses out of context’

Islamic Scholars Decry Use Of Holy Verses In Terror Mail

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: In the email sent out on September 13 minutes before bombs exploded through New Delhi, the Indian Mujahideen quoted two verses from the Quran. The verses, say Islamic scholars, pertained to the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Medinah, and according to many of them, had been pulled out of context and misinterpreted.

The verses were revealed at different points in Islam’s 1,400-year evolution, say maulanas, and the circumstances in which they were announced are key to understanding them.

In its 13-page email which had been copied to every big news channel and media group, the Indian Mujahideen called itself the “homegrown jihadi militia of Islam’’ and threatened to terrorise the “most strategic Hindutva hub’’. The Quran was cited on pages three and four.

The first quotation read: “(O you who believe) when you encounter (in fight) those who disbelieve, strike their necks first, till when you have completely massacred and wounded many of them, then bind them firmly (taking them as captives). Thereafter is the time, either for generosity or a ransom until the war lays down its burden. (Qur’an 47:4).’’

Mufti Azizur Rehman Fatehpuri, an eminent Islamic scholar in Mumbai, explains that this verse (from Surah Anfal in the Quran) was revealed after the Muslims of Mecca were forced to flee to Madinah from Mecca. “Muslims were boycotted for three years by non-Muslims in Mecca. No one would trade with them, there was no permission for namaz, they were beaten up, harassed and humiliated. So there was an order to leave Mecca. But even after reaching Madinah, the non-Muslims continued troubling the Muslims and at
tacking them. It was during this period that this verse was revealed,’’ said Fatehpuri, an Arabic teacher, who has been writing a column on Islam for 22 years. “This verse instructed Muslims to fight with those who came to attack them.’’

The second verse referred to the email is from Surah Mohammed (8:30). It read: “And remember when the disbeliever plotted against you (O Mohammed) to imprison you, or to kill you or to get you out from your home and they were plotting a plan and Allah too was plotting a plan and Allah is the best of those who plot a plan.’’


This verses was revealed when the Prophet Mohammed was to migrate from Mecca to Madinah around 1,429 years ago. According to a tafseer (commentary) of Ma’ariful Qur’an (written by Mufti Mohammed Shafit of Pakistan in Volume IV), this verse refers to the trials and tribulations the Prophet was going through, and Allah’s order to him to migrate. The tafseer says that although the Prophet’s house was under surveillance and the enemies of Islam were plotting his downfall, Allah had planned an easy passage for him from Mecca to Madinah.

The Times of India, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Email traced to PCs of Chembur firm


UNDER THE SCANNER: The office of Kamran Power Control, from whose IP address the terror email was sent, is located in Chembur’s Eric House

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The email sent by the Indian Mujahideen (IM) claiming responsibility for the serial blasts in New Delhi has been traced to Chembur in north-east Mumbai. The IP address was traced to a firm, Kamran Power Control Pvt Ltd, at 201-202 Eric House, 16th Road, Chembur. Service provider Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited was used for sending the email.

By late evening, anti-terrorism squad (ATS) teams had reached the offices of Kamran, situated in a commercial com
plex near Chembur Gymkhana, and at the time of going to press were in the process of checking all the computers. ATS chief Hemant Karkare said prima facie, it appears that Kamran’s WiFi network had been hacked.

Kamran is owned by a couple M K Kamath and K M Kamath—in whose name the WiFi is registered—along with a partner surnamed Randive (initials/first name not available). The firm’s name is an amalagm of Kamath and Randive.


CHEMBUR’S TERROR LINK

Mumbai: Information culled from corporate websites suggests that Kamran Power Control Pvt Ltd, from whose IP address the terror email claiming responsibility for Saturday’s serial blasts in Delhi was sent, has been in existence for about 25 years, has an annual sales volume of “$2.5 million-5 million’’, employs about 50 people, and manufactures “low and medium voltage electrical and electronic control panels required in industries such as steel, cement, sugar and pharma’’.

The email sent by IM minutes before the Ahmedabad blasts last month was also traced to an address in Mumbai—US national Ken Haywood’s internet protocol address in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai. ATS officials subsequently gave Haywood a clean chit, saying his WiFi network was hacked.

The 13-page email on Saturday was sent from al-arbi-delhi@yahoo.com. “The IP address of the email has been traced,’’ confirmed an ATS officer.

Soon after getting the forwarded copies of the email, the cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the Mum
bai crime branch, along with ATS officers, swung into action, tracing the origin of the mail.

The email, as usual, was sent to TV channels. It read, “Indian Mujahideen
strikes back once more.’’ IM had sent similar emails after the Faizabad court blasts in 2007, and the Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts this year.

“Within 5 minutes from now... This
time with the message of death, dreadfully terrorising you for your sins,’’ the email warned. The outfit also threw a challenge to the security agencies, saying “do whatever you want and stop us if you can’’. The sender identified himself as ‘Arbi Hindi’.

A similar mail from al-arbi-gujarat@yahoo.com was sent to TV channels prior to the Ahmedabad blasts. This email was signed by Guru Al-Hindi.

In the last week of August, another email was sent on behalf of IM using the WiFi network of Khalsa College in Matunga. The Khalsa College email had threatened officers of the ATS and the Gujarat police. The probe has reached a dead end.


ATS HEADS FOR DELHI
Soon after the serial explosions in New Delhi, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad decided to send its teams to the blasts-hit areas to study the modus operandi and help the investigators there. The team was yet to be decided, but sources said the officers would leave late in the evening. TNN

The Times of India, September 14, 2008

Email traced to PCs of Chembur firm

UNDER THE SCANNER: The office of Kamran Power Control, from whose IP address the terror email was sent, is located in Chembur’s Eric House

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: he email sent by the Indian Mujahideen (IM) claiming responsibility for the serial blasts in New Delhi has been traced to Chembur in north-east Mumbai. The IP address was traced to a firm, Kamran Power Control Pvt Ltd, at 201-202 Eric House, 16th Road, Chembur. Service provider Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited was used for sending the email.

By late evening, anti-terrorism squad (ATS) teams had reached the offices of Kamran, situated in a commercial com
plex near Chembur Gymkhana, and at the time of going to press were in the process of checking all the computers. ATS chief Hemant Karkare said prima facie, it appears that Kamran’s WiFi network had been hacked.

Kamran is owned by a couple M K Kamath and K M Kamath—in whose name the WiFi is registered—along with a partner surnamed Randive (initials/first name not available). The firm’s name is an amalagm of Kamath and Randive.

CHEMBUR’S TERROR LINK
Mumbai: Information culled from corporate websites suggests that Kamran Power Control Pvt Ltd, from whose IP address the terror email claiming responsibility for Saturday’s serial blasts in Delhi was sent, has been in existence for about 25 years, has an annual sales volume of “$2.5 million-5 million’’, employs about 50 people, and manufactures “low and medium voltage electrical and electronic control panels required in industries such as steel, cement, sugar and pharma’’.

The email sent by IM minutes before the Ahmedabad blasts last month was also traced to an address in Mumbai—US national Ken Haywood’s internet protocol address in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai. ATS officials subsequently gave Haywood a clean chit, saying his WiFi network was hacked.

The 13-page email on Saturday was sent from al-arbi-delhi@yahoo.com. “The IP address of the email has been traced,’’ confirmed an ATS officer.

Soon after getting the forwarded copies of the email, the cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the Mum
bai crime branch, along with ATS officers, swung into action, tracing the origin of the mail.

The email, as usual, was sent to TV channels. It read, “Indian Mujahideen
strikes back once more.’’ IM had sent similar emails after the Faizabad court blasts in 2007, and the Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts this year.

“Within 5 minutes from now... This
time with the message of death, dreadfully terrorising you for your sins,’’ the email warned. The outfit also threw a challenge to the security agencies, saying “do whatever you want and stop us if you can’’. The sender identified himself as ‘Arbi Hindi’.

A similar mail from al-arbi-gujarat@yahoo.com was sent to TV channels prior to the Ahmedabad blasts. This email was signed by Guru Al-Hindi.

In the last week of August, another email was sent on behalf of IM using the WiFi network of Khalsa College in Matunga. The Khalsa College email had threatened officers of the ATS and the Gujarat police. The probe has reached a dead end.


ATS HEADS FOR DELHI
Soon after the serial explosions in New Delhi, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad decided to send its teams to the blasts-hit areas to study the modus operandi and help the investigators there. The team was yet to be decided, but sources said the officers would leave late in the evening. TNN

The Times of India, September 14, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

SEARCH FOR QURESHI

ATS under scanner for combing operation

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: An inquiry has been started into last week’s combing operation at Mograpada in Andheri. The residents, who had alleged to have been threatened at gunpoint by some anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers, will be brought face to face with the policemen concerned to establish the truth, said a senior official.

TOI on Wednesday reported on the combing operation in which four ATS teams comprising officers from its Kalachowkie, Chandan, Vikhroli and Bhoiwada units raided Mograpada in search of Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, who had allegedly sent the threat email. However, the information proved false and moreover, several residents alleged that some ATS officers had threatened them with revolvers when they were asked to show their identity cards.


“I have asked additional commissioner Param Bir Singh to inquire into the matter. We had information that Qureshi had taken shelter in that area and accordingly, conducted a serache,’’ said ATS joint commissioner of police Hemant Karkare.

Qureshi is suspected to have sent an email on behalf of the Indian Mujahideen, claiming responsibility for the

Ahmedabad bomb blasts. Qureshi, a suspected SIMI member, is yet to be traced.

He is also suspected to have hacked US national Ken Haywood’s WiFi network for sending the email to some TV channels.

“Singh will conduct an inquiry with the ATS officers who were part of the searches. We will also look into the allegations that some officers threatened them. The officers
and the residents will be brought in front of each other to establish the truth,’’ said Karkare.

The ATS officers, say residents, dragged a Maulana from his residence to a nearby bakery while asking about Qureshi. Other residents said when they asked the officers to show them their ID cards, they had pulled out their revolvers. Computers and laptops of two engineering students were also examined at midnight. However, the police did not seize the computers. “The policemen asked us if we knew anything about Qureshi or Indian Mujahideen. Is it the way they carry out searches?’’ asked a student who was also questioned.

The ATS said they checked the computers to see if it contained any suspicious data or any links in connection with blasts.

The Times of India, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Security agencies mull banning Sanatan Sanstha

TERROR THREAT? The revivalist group is accused of having a role in the Thane theatre blast

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and the state intelligence department (SID) are busy discussing if the Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu revivalist group and sister organisation of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, can be banned.

The ATS is conducting an in-depth probe into the affairs of the sanstha after a few of its sevaks were arrested for planting bombs in several places of the state.


The ATS said members of the sanstha who were arrested included Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari (50), Mangesh Nikam (34), Santosh Angre (26), Dr Hemant Chalke (homoeopath), Vikram Bhave (26) and patil Hari Bhau Divekar.

“We are in touch with the SID and the state public prosecutor. The ATS is taking legal opinion on this issue,’’ said ATS joint commissioner of police Hemant Karkare. The ATS
is also trying to ascertain whether there is enough evidence to ban the organisation, said an officer.
On May 31, a bomb planted in the parking lot of Gadkari Rangayatan theatre exploded; seven persons were injured in the blast. A play, Amhi Pachpute, was to be staged there. The sanstha had protested against the play saying that it showed Hindu gods and goddesses in “poor light”.

“We are busy comparing the evidence in this case with
the law. If it fulfils all the requirements, then we will recommend a ban on the organisation. Discussions are on and the evidence is being examined,’’ said an officer.

The arrested sevaks have also been booked for their alleged role in the Vishnu Bhave auditorium case in Vashi and for planting a bomb in a Panvel cinema.

The ATS said Gadkari, Bhave and Nikam knew how
to make bombs. They were all present when the bombs were being manufactured. During the interrogation, the accused said they collected the money from their savings.

Moreover, Gadkari had sold his shop to become a fulltime sevak. While Gadkari and Angre stayed at Sanatan Ashram in Devat near Panvel, Nikam was arrested from Satara and Bhave was picked up from Wadala. The bombs were made at Bhave’s house.

The accused told the police that they hid some bomb-making material in Satara and Pen. During raids on the residence and fields of Vikram Bhave and Nikam in Warsai village of Pen (Raigad district), the ATS seized two revolvers, a huge quantity of ammonium nitrate powder, 20 detonators, 19 gelatin sticks, timers, voltage meters, two radio circuits and remote controllers. Investigators said Hari Bhau Devkar was arrested for hiding and trying to destroy the explosives.

The ATS formed 16 teams to detect the case and questioned more than 600 people in this connection. It was revealed that the accused had bought shrapnel from Panvel, eight timers from Lohar Chawl for Rs 550 each and even asked for a 5% discount. The batteries were bought from a shop in Grant Road. The circuits for the bombs were made by Gadkari who holds a diploma in electronics engineering. Detonators, gelatin sticks and ammonium nitrate were obtained from the city. Nikam and Dr Chalke were also involved in a Ratnagiri blast case of 2006 and were acquitted.


The Hindu Janjagran Samiti sevaks arrested in this case are:

June 16, 2008: 1) Ramesh Gadkari (50), resided at Sanatan Ashram
2) Mangesh Nikam (34), resident of Satara

June 17, 2008:
3) Santosh Angre (26), resided at Sanatan Ashram
4) Vikram Bhave (26), a resident of Pen

June 19, 2008:
5) Hari Divekar (35), a police patil, arrested from Ratnagiri for hiding 20 detonators, 19 gelatine sticks, three timers, circuits, batteries, photo album etc.

June 21, 2008: 6) Dr Hemant Chalke (35), a resident of Pen, arrestd for doing recce of the Vashi theatre. He had gone along with Gadkari to purchse timers.

The Times of India, September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ATS terrorised us, say Andheri residents

Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, suspect in the Ahmedabad blasts

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: An early-morning combing operation in Andheri to track down terror suspect Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer proved to be a red herring, but it also raised hackles of the local residents.

Officers of the anti-terrorism squad (ATS), who carried out the search at Mograpada in Andheri, allegedly whipped out revolvers when the residents demanded that they prove their bona fides.
Qureshi is suspected to
have sent an email on behalf of the socalled Indian Mujahideen, claiming responsibility for the July 26 Ahmedabad bomb blasts. Qureshi, a former employee of an IT company, is believed to have hacked US national Ken Haywood’s WiFi network in Navi Mumbai to send the terror mail to some TV channels.

Around 50-60 policemen, along with
their informer, cordoned off the Mograpada area at around 2 am on Tuesday and started entering the houses and questioning the inmates.

A delegation comprising activist Dr Azimuddin, chairman of the Mumbai Aman Committee Farid Shaikh, well-known community member Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi, and Hindustan Urdu editor Sarfaraz Aarzu later complained to ATS chief Hemant Karkare about the police high-handedness. “They started rifling through
the residents’ belongings without a search warrant,’’ said a member of the delegation.

Karkare confirmed that the ATS had conducted searches. “We had got specific information that Subhan Qureshi was holed up in that area. However, the tipoff proved to be wrong.’’


‘Policemen pulled out guns, threatened to kill us’

Mumbai: Residents of Mograpada in Andheri are bristling with rage at the alleged high-handed approach of the ATS officers who searched their homes on Tuesday.

“Some of the residents met me later in the day and complained that the officers had not shown their IDs when they were asked to prove that they were police officers,’’ ATS chief Hemant Karkare told TOI.

Eighteen-year-old Shehbaz Ansari, who is set to leave for Karnataka to pursue a course in pharmacy, said, “When my father asked the policemen to show their I-cards, they pulled
out revolvers and threatened to kill him. We had no option but to keep quiet.’’ Saifur Rehman, who is employed with Millat Hospital, said he was questioned about several things although he was unaware of what the raids were all about.

Ejaz Dharvadkar, who recently completed a diploma course in electronics and communication, was interrogated about his younger brother who works in a call centre. The youths were asked if they were aware about Indian Mujahideen and its activities. Several laptops belonging to the students were checked. “The policemen wanted to ascertain if they contained any suspicious materi
al or had data-links related to the blasts,’’ said Karkare.

Maulana Mehmoodul Hasan, who runs a bakery, said he was dragged from his house to the bakery. “The cops asked me about two women who supposedly bring food to my home. I was surprised since I have four children and my wife prepares food for all of us. I don’t know anything about the women the cops were talking about,’’ said Hasan. The ATS chief said the wrong information about the Ahmedabad terror suspect being holed up in Mograpada could have been prompted by personal enmity. He has ordered an inquiry by a senior officer into the fiasco.

The Times of India, September 3, 2008