Two of the eight Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) undertrial prisoners killed in an encounter by the Madhya Pradesh police on Monday were wanted by the Tamil Nadu police for their involvement in the twin blasts on the Bangalore-Guhawati Express that killed one woman and injured a dozen others in Chennai on May 1, 2014.
Sources in the Crime Branch (CB) CID of the Tamil Nadu Police said Zakir Hussain, alias Sadiq, alias Vicky (32), Sheikh Mehboob (30) and Ejazuddin (32) were wanted in the case. Ejazuddin was killed by the Telangana police in an encounter near Nalgonda in April last year.
“With this, all the three accused persons wanted in the twin blasts case are dead and the charges against them will be abated,” a CB CID official said.
Going by the statements of the accused while in custody, it appeared that Chennai was not the target of the explosions, the official, who requested anonymity, said.
Karimnagar police sources said Zakir Hussain and Sheik Mehboob alias Guddu were also involved in robbing the State Bank of India (SBI) branch at Choppadandi of Karimnagar district on February 1, 2014. They had escaped with Rs. 46 lakh.
They had done a recce of the bank three days before they struck. As the bank manager entered the bank at 9.30 a.m., two persons followed him and at gunpoint forced him to open the currency chest. Then, along with their accomplices waiting outside on two bikes, they escaped.
Later it was found that they were fugitives of the Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh) jailbreak. Some Rs. 7.44 lakh was subsequently recovered from a hideout in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. Zakir Hussain had participated in a series of bank robberies in MP between 2008 and 2011.
A tailor by profession Mehboob Guddu, according to senior officials, was also an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case. A tailor by profession, he was a resident of Ganesh Talai in Khandwa district and was accused of killing a State anti-terrorism squad (ATS) constable, Sita Ram Yadav, in 2009 and another ATS constable in Ratlam district in 2011. According to police sources in Kochi, Mehboob had participated in a training camp organised by the outlawed outfit at Thangalpara in Wagamon.
He had escaped from Khandwa jail in October 2013. The next year, while making an IED at a house in Bijnore, he sustained severe burns. He was arrested along with his mother Najma Bi and three others in Rourkela district of Odisha in February this year.
The others killed in the encounter are:
Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, a former State SIMI chief, was arrested in March 2012 from Aurangabad, Maharashtra, for planning to kill RSS and BJP leaders. He was a resident of Ganesh Talai. In 2011, 10 SIMI operatives were held from Khilji’s house in Khandwa.
Mohammad Saliq: Also a resident of Khandwa, his brother is a retired police constable. Saliq was on the run since 2011 when a police team raided a house in Khandwa. He joined the SIMI men who had escaped from Khandwa prison in October 2013 and moved around with them for over two years. He was arrested from Rourkela in February 2016.
Amjad Khan: Again, a native of Khandwa, also escaped from the Khandwa prison in 2013. He was accused of conspiring to kill a local BJP councillor.
Mujeeb Sheikh: An Indian Mujahideen operative and accused in the 2008 serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat, Sheikh was arrested from Jabalpur in June 2011
Mohammad Khalid Ahmad, a resident of Sholapur district of Maharashtra, was arrested in December 2013 along with the Khandwa jail breakers group’s head Abu Faisal alias ‘Doctor’ from Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh. He was a part of a plan to kill former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his daughter.
Abdul Majid was an electrician in Mahidpur town in Ujjain. He was arrested in February 2014 for stocking explosives.