Anand Haridas

KOCHI: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that “there is still no official confirmation about the arrest [of T. Nazir]. Even though, we had made queries about it, no positive information was given to us.”

The Minister was reacting to media reports on the arrest of T. Nazir and Shafas Shamsuddin, both hailing from here, after the Bangladesh Rifles handed them over to the Border Security Force (BSF).

The State police are now on the trail of an Indian passport that surfaced in Iran recently during a investigation by U.S. intelligence agencies. The passport was traced to Shameer, a daily wages worker from Mudikal in Ernakulam. The police suspect that Nazir had used the passport to activate a mobile phone connection that he used during the Kalamassery bus burning incident.

How arrests were made

Biju Govind writes from Kozhikode:

Top sources told The Hindu that the interrogation of David Coleman Headley alias Daood Ghilani, Pakistan-born U.S. national, and his aide Tahawwar Hussain Rana, who were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the U.S. recently, had helped the investigators to know the whereabouts of Nazir and Shafas, who had fled to Bangladesh in November 2008. The confessions of Headley and Rana, suspected of plotting terror attacks in India, had given the FBI cues to the LeT network in Bangladesh as well. Nazir had been doing odd jobs at a textile factory in Bangladesh and Shafas had accompanied him to Bangladesh, sources said.

Twin blast

According to the police, apart from his involvement in the Bangalore serial blasts in July 2008, Nazir had masterminded the twin blasts at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and mofussil bus stations in Kozhiode on March 3, 2006 and the torching of a Tamil Nadu government-owned bus at Kalamassery. He was also an accused in a case relating to the planting a bomb near the Coimbatore Press Club.

Official sources said the Kozhikode twin blasts case and the Kalamassery bus burning case were likely to be taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which had been empowered to deal with terror-related crimes in the country without special permission from the State government.