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Updated: March 16, 2010 04:27 IST

Mumbai terror suspects linked to fugitive ganglord

Praveen Swami
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Policemen stand guard outside Thakkar Mall, one of the targets of the two suspected terrorists arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, on Sunday.
PTI Policemen stand guard outside Thakkar Mall, one of the targets of the two suspected terrorists arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, on Sunday.

Bashir Khan recruited relatives in Mumbai for new jihadist attacks.

Karachi-based ganglord Bashir Ahmad Khan Ain-ul-Haq Khan had recruited two Mumbai-based men arrested over the weekend for plotting terrorist attacks, intelligence sources have told The Hindu.

Khan, a key lieutenant of top mafioso Mushtaq Abdul Razzak Memon, is wanted for his alleged role in planning and executing the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai, which left 254 people dead and more than 700 injured.

Khan is a paternal uncle of Abdul Latif Sheikh, one of the two men arrested by the Mumbai police. Sheikh is married to the sister of Riyaz Ali, the second suspect.

Maharashtra prosecutors say Khan played a key role in landing hundreds of kilograms of plastic explosives, as well as assault rifles and grenades, off the coasts of Dighi and Shekhadi in January and February, 1993. He is also alleged to have participated in a string of meetings where top mafioso Dawood Ibrahim Kaksar planned the serial bombings, and to have received combat training from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

Based on the evidence so far available, planning for the attacks appears to have been at an early stage. No explosives of weapons had been received by the men, and neither appears to have been directly linked to jihadist organisations.

Intelligence sources said both men appeared motivated by a desire to avenge the anti-Muslim violence that tore apart Gujarat in 2002. Both men's families, the sources said, are ethnic-Gujarati, originally hailing from Ahmedabad and Bhusaval.

Personal grievances may also have shaped the choice of the two suspects' targets. Four years ago, police had detained Mr. Ali after he eloped with a minor, the daughter of his former employer at the Thakkar Shopping Mall, one of the targets.

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