Hyderabad

Did the police fail to connect the dots?

Telangana police should have been more cautious as SIMI had earlier tried to develop a base in the State: Intelligence official

Did the Telangana police fail to connect the dots of Choppadandi (Karimnagar district) bank robbery of 2014 involving alleged Students Islamic Movement of India activists, their possible movement in the State and the firing at Suryapet?

The question assumes importance in the backdrop of four policemen and seven persons, facing terror cases, getting killed in less than a week. The killing of five under-trial prisoners by the police in an ‘exchange of fire’ on the border of Warangal-Nalgonda districts was preceded by two SIMI operatives gunning down two policemen at Suryapet bus-stand.

The duo, later identified as Aijajuddin and Aslam, were eventually shot dead in an exchange of fire. Now, investigators say the duo were part of the SIMI gang that looted Rs. 46 lakh from the SBI’s branch at Choppadandi on February 1, 2014. After looting the bank, some members of the gang – or at least Aijajuddin and Aslam – were apparently moving in Telangana on and off, if not frequently. While the bank was looted in February, it was confirmed in October the same year that the jailbreak fugitives of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh were behind it. “Since the jailbreak fugitives were connected to SIMI, police in Telangana should have been more cautious as SIMI had earlier tried to develop a base in the State,” said a Central Intelligence official.

Since the bank robbery accused turned out to be associates of the proscribed SIMI, its investigation should have been handed over to units like Crime Investigation Department (CID). For some inexplicable reasons, the police top brass didn’t move in this direction. Moreover, currency bundles taken away from the Choppadandi bank were found in possession of persons connected to the Burdwan blast in West Bengal. Meanwhile, police stumbled upon information that the same gang was ‘at work’ in Uttar Pradesh also. Apparently, SIMI activists having links with West Bengal and UP were also moving in Telangana. Firearm attack of Aijajuddin and Aslam on policemen at Suryapet bus-stand too indicated that they were possibly visiting Nalgonda for developing a base or taking shelter.

Strangely, the Telangana police pursued the angle of the killers being thieves rather than suspecting them to be members of SIMI or any other terror outfit. Police records state that Nalgonda district had links with terror operatives. Three youngsters from the district were earlier held for the murder of former Home Minister of Gujarat, Haren Pandya. Two of them formed Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen (IIIM) and tried to recruit youth for terror plots. Fasiuddin, accused of eliminating two BJP leaders, also hailed from this district. He was eventually killed in an encounter with the police.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:08:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/did-the-police-fail-to-connect-the-dots/article7087453.ece

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