Dhaka: A suspected top operative of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist group was arrested in Bangladesh, the second such catch in less than a week, police said on Tuesday.
Maulana Mohammed Mansur Ali alias Maulana Habibullah, an
Indian national, was active in Kashmir and has been the main
organiser of LeT in Bangladesh, Deputy Commissioner of
Detective Branch Monirul Islam told reporters.
He was arrested from Dakkhin Khan area in Dhaka yesterday
after an intensive manhunt engaging police spies, Islam said.
The officer said in line with confessions of Mufti
Obaidullah, a LeT-linked militant arrested last week and now
in custody on a seven-day remand, police launched the manhunt
and arrested Ali, who was working at a madrasah.
Both Obaidullah and Ali told the police that they were
residents of West Bengal of India and entered Bangladesh in
1995 to evade arrest by Indian security forces.
Islam said like Obaidullah, Ali too was being chased by
Indian security forces for their militant activities in
Kashmir with the support of Pakistan-based LeT, which is also
blamed for the Mumbai attacks. In initial interrogation, he
said one of his brothers was killed in an encounter with
Indian border guards.
Both of them were veterans of Afghan resistance against
Soviet invasion, trained in operating heavy weapons, and were
also linked to India`s Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF) and
Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) of Bangladesh.
ARCF had claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack
on the American Center in Kolkata in 2002.
"We are now investigating into the links between the
militant outfits of the three countries and particularly the
HuJI relations with the Pakistani and Indian extremist
groups," the DCP said.
"We are interrogating Obaidulah for the fourth
consecutive day and will seek a court order to bring Ali on
remand tomorrow for interrogation," he said.
Ali was brought before the journalists for a brief photo
session when he admitted his involvement in militant
activities. He claimed that he is a bachelor`s degree holder
and a former employee of Indian Railways.
Police last week arrested Obaidullah following statements
of Indian underworld operative Dawood Merchant, who belong to
Dawood Ibrahim network and was nabbed earlier.
Security officials familiar with the terrorist network in
the region said ARCF represents the growing nexus between
organised crime and terrorism since it was raised in December
2001 along northwestern Bangla-India frontiers.
They said they tracked down Obaidullah as an
investigation was underway to unearth the networks of Indian
underworld dons Chhota Shakeel and Dawood Ibrahim in
Bangladesh since the arrest of their several operatives
including Dawdood Merchant in May.
Dhaka Police Commissioner A K M Shahidul Haque last week
said police were trying to find Obaidullah`s links with the
Dawood network despite their apparent dissimilarities in terms
of ideology or objectives.