The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
In net: suicide strikers

Basirhat/Calcutta, Aug. 16: Mohammed Zuber and Mohammed Sohail, who were detained by the BSF at Basirhat in North 24-Parganas on Independence Day-eve, were members of a suicide squad using Calcutta for transit, intelligence sources claimed today.

The two, in their 20s, were produced at Basirhat court amid tight security and remanded in 14 days’ police custody.

A huge crowd, including women, turned up on the co- urt premises for a glimpse of the terrorists, stuff of Bollywood potboilers for most in this part of Bengal.

Zuber, in an ash half-shirt and chocolate knee-length pants, and Sohail, in a blue shirt and deep-blue bermudas, disappointed most. If at all they were visible through the security rings, black cloths hid their faces.

Police had to wield the baton to control people jostling for a better view of whatever they could see.

“We were left with no alternative but to lathicharge the mob,” subdivisional police officer Joy Biswas said.

Officers working on the case said the duo, “trained in Muzaffarabad in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)” about four years ago, reached Dhaka from Karachi in June and participated in camps at Satkhira.

“Zuber claims he is a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba while Sohail appears to be a member of a Jaish-e-Mohammed module. These claims need to be verified by the investigating agencies. We have also found some documents, which we have handed over to the police,” said Somesh Goyel, the BSF’s south Bengal inspector-general.

The CID has been entrusted with the probe. Late to- night, the two were brought to Bhawani Bhavan, its headquarters in Calcutta.

“The two are Pakistanis and the police are probing if they have links with the Mumbai blasts,” Bengal home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said.

A Mumbai police team questioned Zuber and Sohail today as did Inspector-general of police (south Bengal) Surajit Kar Purakayastha and other central intelligence officers. A Delhi police team is scheduled to reach the city tomorrow.

Investigators said the two claimed that some of their mates at a training camp at Muzaffarabad had a hand in the blasts in Varanasi and Delhi.

On August 14, Zuber and Sohail were trying to cross the Ichhamati on a boat to enter Bengal when BSF jawans spotted them. Although the tout and the boatmen managed to escape, the duo was detained.

“It could well be that the two are using fake names to protect their real identities,” said CID deputy inspector-general Rajeev Kumar.

Email This Page