Indian probe team to Bangladesh for questioning Belal

New Delhi: A team of security officials will soon leave for Bangladesh to question a top Jaish-e-Mohammed militant accused of carrying out several blasts, including those in Bangalore and Surat in 2008, besides claiming to be involved in hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar.

Top government sources said the team would question Nannu Mia alias Belal Mandol, who was arrested on February 28 along with four operatives of the Pakistan-based militant group JeM. These included its Pakistani coordinator in Bangladesh who was also a recruiter for operations in India.

Though Belal had claimed to have played a key role in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999, sources here said it is yet to be ascertained.

He is, however, wanted in Bangalore and Surat blasts in 2008 which had shocked the country and the security set up.

Sources said India hoped that Bangladesh will hand over Belal after the authorities there finish their investigations.

Belal, who claims to be a native of north Bangladeshi town Shylet, has an Indian wife hailing from West Bengal, the sources said.

Of the five JeM activists, one is a Pakistani national while the remaining four are Bangladeshi citizens, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Assistant Director of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of Bagladesh had said.

Another important arrest was that of Karachi resident Rezwan, 26, who RAB officials said had confessed that he was JeM's regional coordinator and also a recruiting agent for conducting operations in India.

JeM, founded by Maulana Masood Azhar, was responsible for the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament House in New Delhi.

The banned terror group was launched on January 31, 2000, by Azhar in Karachi after he and two other top militants were released by Indian government as part of a deal to secure the release of Indian hostages in Kandahar, Afghanistan.