Bangalore, Aug. 30: A Bangalore journalist and a doctor are among 11 members of an alleged terror module arrested late last night in the city and Hubli in northern Karnataka.
A foreign-made pistol of 7.65 calibre, seven bullets, computer hard discs, laptops, mobile phones and documents were seized as evidence of their role in plotting attacks in several states, police said.
The police are also probing whether they had a role in whipping up the scare that led to an exodus of more than 30,000 Northeast citizens from Bangalore two weeks ago.
Muthi-ur Rahman Siddiqui, a 26-year-old reporter with an English-language daily, and five others were arrested in Bangalore and the rest in Hubli, 430km from the city.
Police commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji said Siddiqui was linked to terror outfits that were planning to kill MPs, MLAs and journalists identified with the Right wing. A columnist with a Kannada daily, who was not identified, was in the hit list for allegedly nursing a Right-wing agenda, officers said.
However, the police did not confirm reports that one of the six arrested in Bangalore is a software engineer working for the Defence Research Development Organisation.
Commissioner Mirji said the “terrorists” had confessed to having being trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, whom security agencies have accused of involvement in several blasts and attacks across the country.
He said the suspects received funds from Dubai-based financiers of the two terror outfits while their handler was based in Saudi Arabia.
Apart from Siddiqui, those arrested in Bangalore have been identified as Sohaib Ahmed Mirja, 25, Abdullah Hakim Jamadar, 25, Riyaz Mohammed Byahatti, 25, Mohammed Yusuf Nalband, 28, and Ziad Ahmed, 28. They lived in a single-bedroom house in Munireddy Palya, J.C. Nagar, in the heart of the city, officers said.
Those arrested in Hubli are Obaidullah Imran Bahadur, 24, Mohammed Sadiq Lashkar, 28, Wahid Hussain, 26, Mehboob Bagalkote, 26, and Jaffer Iqbal, 27, a doctor.
Mirji said the city police had kept a close watch on the suspects for around three months since receiving an alert about sleeper cells in the state.
The suspects have been charged with criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between religious groups, and attempt to murder apart from provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“The police have done a brilliant job in busting the module and preventing imminent attacks,” Mirji said. “No more details can be disclosed at this point for the sake of the ongoing investigations.”