The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulund blast probe leads to arms bust

Mumbai, May 3: Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal today said investigators probing the Mulund train blast had found “lethal chemicals” and sophisticated arms in two training camps for militants on a hilltop around three hours drive from the city.

The chemicals, Bhujbal said, were meant to be used in attacks on popular and strategic points like Chowpatty, Mantralaya and the Gateway of India. Police have also seized compact discs with speeches linked to the Godhra incident in Gujarat. Bhujbal said the speeches by religious leaders were “provocative and aimed at misleading the youths of a minority community”.

The haul of arms and chemicals follows the arrest of six Students’ Islamic Movement of India activists in connection with the train blast, which killed 11 people and injured 70 on March 13 this year.

The seizures include 1 kg of potassium cyanide, bottles of sulphuric acid, ammonium nitrate and nitric acid. Four AK-56 rifles, two pistols and an equal number of revolvers were also recovered. “The Mulund attack was to be followed by similar blasts and attacks, like that at Akshardham temple, around major points of Mumbai,” Bhujbal said, adding that the discovery of arms and training centres was a crucial breakthrough for the police.

The deputy chief minister said all the threads in the Mulund blast and last December’s Ghatkopar bus explosion — which the police claimed were inter-linked — had now been connected. Though he refused to divulge “minute details before chargesheets were framed”, Bhujbal said the arrest of the six Simi activists have helped police to get to the root of the “inter-linked” cases.

Crime branch officers said the arms had come from Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in Kashmir via Calcutta. The arms had then been transported to Malegaon and later to a hideout in Borivli. The police further said the latest recovery clearly established a nexus between the Lashkar and the Simi.

The training camps were situated on a hilltop near Padhga, in Bhiwandi, a village from which the police had earlier arrested Simi activist Saquib Nachan, alleged to be the main conspirator behind the Mulund and Ghatkopar blasts. The police had also recovered an AK-56 rifle from Padhga, the native village of Nachan, said to be a Lashkar pointman in India.

Bhujbal said Nachan had visited the camps thrice to train potential militants. The camps were being used for the past two years and close to a dozen people had been trained there, he added.

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