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'Suspect involved in religious meetings'

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JULY 13. The prime suspect in the church blast case, S.M. Ibrahim, had been trying to organise people under the banner of Deendar Channabasaveshwara Siddique sect in various places in Karnataka.

The son of the sect's propounder, who is active in Pakistan, is said to be co-ordinating the blasts in churches through the followers of the Deendar Channabasaveshwara Siddique sect.

Ibrahim's wife, Barkath Ibrahim, even as she feigns ignorance about her husband's criminal activities, admits that he was actively arranging religious meetings at various places.

However, on May 2, when she accompanied Ibrahim to Tumkur where a ``sarvadharama sammelan'' was organised under the Deendar Channabasaveshwara Siddique's banner, trouble broke out and he forced her to leave the place saying that there was ``some danger''.

Barkath, a native of Bangalore and mother of two children, told The Hindu today that Ibrahim had also organised a similar meeting at Chikkaballapur in Kolar District on May 4.

However, after the Tumkur incident, Ibrahim was mentally disturbed and was not behaving normally. He was very restless, she said.

Incidentally, all the blasts in the churches in South India have taken place after the meetings at Tumkur and Chikkaballapur.

On July 9, when the blast occurred at St. Peter and Paul's Church in Jagajeevanram Nagar in Bangalore, Ibrahim had left his house at around 5.30 p.m. saying that he was going to a function. ``He had said that he would take me with him. But he left alone,'' Barkath said.

Another significant information which Barkath revealed was that Ibrahim was not attending work for the last one month. He was working as an accountant in a leading software development company on Hosur Road of Koodlu Gate in Bangalore.

While Barkath claims that her husband, a native of Vijayawada, was a chartered accountant, the Vijayawada Police Commissioner, Mr. Sudeep Lakatakia, has said that Ibrahim was a ``school dropout who was teaching martial arts in his home town before he migrated to Bangalore in the late Eighties''.

Asked about Ibrahim's antecedents, she said he was staying at Gangenahalli in the City before they shifted to Varthur on January 1, 1995, after their marriage.

``We did not know anything about Ibrahim's family. An aunt of mine was a tenant at Ibrahim's house in Vijayawada, and she arranged our marriage,'' said Barkath, a computer literate who can speak English, Kannada and Urdu fluently.

Referring to the two associates of Ibrahim, who were killed in the van bomb blast, she said Siddique had visited their house twice after her marriage. ``But Ibrahim used to always tell me about him''.

However, she claimed that she had never heard of or seen Zakir, who was also killed in the explosion with Siddique.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim's house in Varthur is being kept under surveillance, and police personnel, including a woman police officer, have been posted there.

While police have almost obtained clinching evidence to prove Ibrahim's role in the blasts, his neighbours in Varthur are shocked over the developments.

Many of them, including the local police, say that Ibrahim is a ``good man'' and that they did not know about his activities until the police raided his house.

In another related development, the CoD team, headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Economic Offences Cell), Mr. H.T. Kishore Chandra, today left for Wadi in Gulbarga District to investigate the blast that occurred at the St. Anne's Church on June 8, according to the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, Mr. C. Dinakar.

Police guarding the house of Ibrahim, the prime suspect in church blast case, at Varthur in Bangalore on Thursday.

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