Kochi: A man alleged to be a key member of
a Kerala-based gang suspected of being involved in bomb blasts
in the state and having links with terror outfits in Jammu and
Kashmir and Hyderabad has been arrested.
Police said Mohammed Abdul Halim was picked up for
questioning two days ago from Kannur in connection with the
blast at the multi-storeyed Ernakulam Collectorate housing
government departments on July 10.
During interrogation, Halim said he was an expert in bomb
making and a member of a gang having links with terror
groups in Jammu and Kashmir and Hyderabad, Kochi City Police
Commissioner Manoj Abraham told reporters here.
The 33-year-old Halim and six other members of the gang,
are suspected to be involved in at least 14 `pipe bomb` blast
cases in Kerala since 1998. Halim was said to be involved in
two blast cases in Kozhikode on March 3, 2006 which were
related to the Marad communal clash in May 2003 in which nine
persons were killed.
Halim was also involved in the burning of a Tamil Nadu
state owned bus at Kalamassery near here, two murder cases and
a vehicle theft case. Abraham said Halim`s role in
Collectorate blast was being verified. No one was injured in
Police claim that Halim and his group had connections
with militant groups in neighbouring states and outside India
and had received funds from abroad. They used to meet at
Hyderabad and plan blasts, and hide after committing some
crime. The group was working in a "very organised manner" and
is suspected to have been trained in Kashmir, they said.
Halim also said during interrogation that he had stolen a
car which was to be used for Bangalore blasts in July last
year. The blasts had left one dead and several injured, police
Though he was arrested after the theft, he had not
revealed the actual motive for stealing the car, police said.
Nazer was the kingpin of the gang while another member
Sattar, had trained the Kannur-based Halim in making bombs,
Both Nazer and Sattar have links with militant groups,
police said, adding the gang members are absconding.
The members operated from places like Aluva, Perumbavoor,
Kannur, Malappuram and Kozhikode in Kerala, police said.
Halim, who had returned from the Gulf in January this
year, had attended some religious classes at Hyderabad also.