Kolkata now safe haven for terrorists
Arms smuggling to Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh?
Asim Kumar Mitra
Of late Kolkata has become safe haven for arms operatives of almost all terrorist activists of all colours. So long police and other security personnel were in dark. But early this year they were successful in nabbing few terrorist elements who were especially active in transporting arms from one place to another. In the last month, one Maoist leader Ajay alias Indranil was trapped in police net near Dharamtalla Bus Terminus (Kolkata) and after interrogation by the Special Task Force (STF) it came to light that Manipuri terrorists are helping them in smuggling arms all the way from Myanmar to Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. He further confessed that formerly the arms-smuggling route was via Nepal, but now they have changed it for safer movement.
On April 3, 2012 Times of India, Kolkata had carried a news item where it said that investigations into the Indian Mujahedeen (IM) module operating across the country —-11 of whom has so far been nabbed —— has revealed that at least two of them had stayed in Kolkata for some time towards the end of last year when they tried to buy arms from Murshidabad and Malda (Two districts of West Bengal). However, the deal fell through and the operatives returned empty-handed.
Mohammad Qatil Siddiqui—one of those in police net—revealed the facts on IM’s Kolkata connections during an interrogation. The cops said that the accused had gone to Kolkata and stayed at several hideouts at Zakaria Street and Metiabruz. (Predominantly a Muslim infested area). “They kept changing their hideouts and never stayed at a place beyond three days. IM had set up an arms factory in Delhi as planned by the IM founders — the Bhatkal brothers. They had set up lathe machines and wanted to acquire some arms from Bengal to either use them or see whether they can match up their quality. Bangladesh still houses modules of the Huji group and we are investigating if the IM module was in touch with them,” said an officer.
On the other hand, arrested terrorist leader 37 years old Ajay alias Indranil alias Raj had admitted to STF that Manipuri terrorists are supplying arms of different description through Myanmar and North Bengal to Kolkata and consignments are being handed over to the Maoists groups of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in this city. Formerly these arms movements were taking place through Nepal. Of late this route has become unsafe and risky for this type of arms smuggling. The STF head of the area Vastav Baidya said that “now we are in a position to confirm the statements of Maoist leaders who were arrested earlier that Raipur of Chhattisgarh and Howrah of West Bengal are the two places where Maoists used to accumulate raw materials producing arms and ammunition.
Through the laptop of Ajay, STF came to know that these Maoists had regular interaction with terrorist groups like PREPAK and Peoples’ Liberation Army of Manipur, etc. and many photographs of terrorist training camps were also seen.
Another important aspect of Maoists movement from one place to another is that they carry lot of currency notes with them. A reliable source said that a considerable amount of these notes are fake currency notes smuggled from Bangladesh. This has become a great headache for the administrative authorities. The claim, which was doing the rounds from December, was confirmed after Siddiqui spelled out the details of the visit recently. The terrorists are using the border areas to smuggle fake currency and guns in Bengal. Pakistan handlers, Aftab Batki and Iqbal Kana (also known as Shahid) are allegedly supervising the siphoning of fake currency into India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Dubai, Nepal and several mid-eastern countries, and are close to Dawood Ibrahim. The two routes they use are the Nepal-Bihar and the Bangladesh-West Bengal routes. It has been established now that the local criminals and the floating labour population carry these currencies to terror modules in Bihar and Mumbai.
Now, agencies probing the blasts in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune are trying to trace a Kolkata based IM operative, Abdullah alias Nata. Sources said that in February last year, the intelligence agencies had intercepted some phone calls between some locations in Bengal and Karachi. “The agencies, through interceptions, came to know that the IM was reportedly recruiting fresh faces from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal,” said the source.
According to Kolkata Police, Abdullah was recruited by Amir Reza Khan’s brother Asif in the late nineties. After Asif’s death he joined Amir’s Asif Reza Commando Force and played an important role in the 2002 USIS (United States Information Service) attack. Abdullah’s name first cropped up during probe into extortion calls made to six Kolkata businessmen in 2010. It was revealed that IM was behind the calls.
The NIA (National Intelligence Agency) believes Abdullah could be operating from Nepal. He last called his home around eight months ago when his father died. But police failed to trace the origin of the call.?