Wanted LeT leader killed in encounter

KARIMNAGAR NOV. 24. The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) South India in-charge and one of the main accused in the bomb blast near the Saibaba temple in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, Syed Aziz alias Imran alias Khalid (21), was killed in an encounter with the police at Rekurthi village crossroads on the outskirts of Karimnagar in the early hours of Sunday.

The Superintendent of Police, R.S. Praveen Kumar, told presspersons that the Karimnagar rural police led by the Sub-Inspector, Krishna Reddy, who were doing a routine vehicle check, noticed a man going on a bicycle. When the police asked him to disclose his credentials, he abandoned the bicycle and ran into the bushes.

When a constable chased him, the militant opened fire with a 9 mm pistol, but the unarmed constable escaped by taking cover behind a culvert.

The Sub-Inspector and another constable who were armed took positions and returned fire. The exchange continued for about 10 minutes. When the firing stopped from the militant's side, police searched the area and found him dead.

Police recovered a Taiwan-made pistol, two loaded magazines, integrated circuit of an explosive device, micro-chips, fusewire, Rs. 9,000 cash, some medicines and other material in a bag. The sketch map recovered from the slain militant shows their bomb blast design at the temple.

Police also recovered an Indian passport which does not contain any Indian entry after his visit to Saudi Arabia.

The SP said the militant, an explosives expert, was a resident of Malakpet in Hyderabad.

He went to Saudi Arabia in January 2001, stayed there for sometime, developed contacts with some militants and went to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir capital, Muzaffarabad, in September. From there, he was sent to Bhawalpur for basic training in LeT activities. He underwent 20 days training called `Daura-e-am' and 40 days training called `Daura-e-khaz' and the third phase training for about 60 days in detonation.

After the training, he stayed back in Pakistan for about three months and later, along with nine others, intruded into Indian territory from the Poonch sector.

He walked for about 25 days to reach Jammu and from there reached Delhi and Warangal and later Mumbai.

In Mumbai, he stayed with a few other militants in a hospital. He was sent to Hyderabad and then back to Mumbai. This time, he met Azam, one of the accused in the bomb blast at the temple. Both were given pistols and some rounds of ammunition and sent to Hyderabad.

Later, Aziz went to Chennai, Bangalore and Tumkur and surveyed the activities of LeT cadre. Azam and Aziz planned to eliminate the VHP State president, G. Pulla Reddy, and plant bombs at various temples.

Accordingly, they surveyed the Saibaba temple and purchased a scooter and planted explosives and detonated them on November 21. They dispersed after exploding the bomb.

Our Hyderabad Staff Reporter adds:

The Director-General of Police, P. Ramulu, told a press conference that Aziz was believed to have entered into India covertly as no registration of entry was found in his passport.

He said Aziz, who supervised LeT operations in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, had planned to desecrate religious places and statues of national leaders like B.R. Ambedkar to instigate communal disturbances.

The DGP said the Government would provide protection to G. Pulla Reddy and Narayana Reddy, State leaders of the VHP.