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Lashkar ‘link’ in army school

Mumbai, May 12: A professor linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba has found a place in the faculty of the National Defence Academy, the cradle of India’s armed forces’ elite, police claimed today.

The startling disclosure came after the police arrested Anwar Ali, who teaches Urdu at the premier defence school, in connection with the Mulund train blast earlier this year.

Police claimed that Ali was an important link in the March 13 incident in which 11 people were killed and 70 injured when a bomb ripped through a local train compartment.

Defence academy authorities refused to comment on Ali’s arrest, saying it would be “inappropriate”.

Ali’s arrest follows raids by Maharashtra police on two militant training camps at Padhga, in Bhivandi, near Mumbai.

The police said the camps, which were deserted but reportedly stocked with arms and lethal chemicals, had been used by militants to train more than a dozen men to carry out subversive acts in the state.

Ali, who was produced before a special court today, has been charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for allegedly being a conduit between Lashkar operatives in Maharashtra.

The 54-year-old professor, who was arrested by the Crime Branch last night, has been remanded in police custody till May 26.

Police have charged Ali, a doctorate in Urdu poetry, with forging links with Lashkar militants and sheltering them while co-ordinating with activists of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India from his Pune residence.

A former member of Simi, Saquib Nachan, alleged to be the chief conspirator behind the Mulund and Ghatkopar blasts, has already been arrested and charged under the anti-terror Act.

Police officers said Ali, a professor on an ad hoc basis at the Pune academy, not only provided shelter to three Lashkar militants — all of them were eventually killed in a police encounter on March 29 — but also participated in a meeting of Simi activists at his house.

“The meetings (at Ali’s house) were held to chart out strategies regarding the Mulund and Ghatkopar blasts,” a police officer said, adding that plans to carry out explosions at other sensitive places were also discussed.

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