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Southern States - Andhra Pradesh-Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Mumbai blasts: manhunt for key suspect

By Marri Ramu

HYDERABAD Sept. 3. The Hyderabad police have launched a massive hunt for Abdul Azeez, who was charged with associating several pan-Islamic terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Pak-based Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI).

A native of Hyderabad, Abdul Azeez is top on the wanted list of the police amidst reports linking the name of another local person, Mohammad Faheem, to the Mumbai blasts.

The common `feature' between Faheem and Azeez is that both of them went to Dubai where they were believed to have been roped in by fundamentalist groups.

The fact that Abdul Azeez and his "close associate" , Nissar, a suspended police constable, had gone "out of view'' made the investigating agencies more alert in the backdrop of the Mumbai blasts.

The reported inter-state alert sounded by Central intelligence agencies to track down all such suspects "capable of creating trouble'' only forced the local police to step up their search.

A resident of Petlaburz, Azeez went to Riyadh a few years ago. He was said to have come into contact with a fundamentalist group and reportedly assigned `Deeni' (religious) work to be carried out in India. He was sent to Bosnia and Chechenya. On his return to India, he `cultivated' two youngsters and made a vain bid to take them to Chechenya. However, he, along with the associates, was deported from Baku in Chechenya to New Delhi on the charge of possessing forged documents. A case was registered against him in India in this connection. He again went to Dubai, developed contact with some extremist groups and returned with funds.

He met Salim Junaid (a Pak national arrested by the Hyderabad police) and Azam Ghouri (killed in an encounter) after his return. His clandestine operations came to light when the police unearthed the Azam Ghori module.

Subsequently, he was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in September, 2001, on the charge of possessing explosives and firearms. He came out on bail and disappeared subsequently.

Though a direct link between Abdul Azeez and the recent terrorist violence in the country was yet to be established, the city police are searching for him as he is considered capable of creating such trouble.

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