The suspected sympathisers of the banned outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who were arrested in Chhattisgarh for allegedly providing logistical support and shelter to the four Indian Mujahideen members wanted in connection with the Bihar blasts, had close links with a person arrested in Andhra Pradesh a few months ago for alleged involvement in naxal activities, said the police.
“During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they were in contact with one Mujeeb who was recently arrested at Konta in Andhra Pradesh for his role in naxal operations,” said a senior Chhattisgarh police officer on Monday, adding that a National Investigation Agency team was in Raipur to interrogate the suspects.
Among those arrested is Omer Siddiqui (35) who has allegedly been associated with SIMI since 2001.
“He had been raising funds, recruiting people and organising meetings for the outfit. He was in regular touch with those wanted in connection with the Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts, including Hyder Ali. He disclosed that in 2011, he had organised a meeting at a resort near Raipur and it was attended by around 30 people,” said the officer, claiming that Omer has been under surveillance for the past two years.
The officer said some phone calls made to Pakistan, allegedly by Omer and his accomplices, are also being examined for clues.
“Their interrogation has revealed yet another startling fact that to raise funds, some of the SIMI activists committed robberies and targeted financial institutions lending loans against gold,” said the officer.
Omer has purportedly disclosed that some of the SIMI activists who recently escaped from Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh had also stayed in the Raipur hideouts earlier.
The Indian Mujahideen suspects, who had taken shelter in Raipur after the Patna blasts, have been identified as Hyder, Numan Ansari, Taufeeq Ansari and Mojibullah.
“We have seized a computer and some other articles from their hideouts. Some leads are being developed to ascertain their whereabouts. The terror suspects had set up sleeper cells in Raipur in connivance with their SIMI associates to evade detection,” said an officer.