Thiruvananthapuram, Aug. 30: A former Students’ Islamic Movement of India president from Aluva, near Kochi, has emerged as a major suspect in the twin blasts in Mumbai.
C.A.M. Basheer is based in Saudi Arabia now and controls the extremist Muslim Development Force, which conducts operations in southwest India in tandem with the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, says a top intelligence source here.
Basheer, 43, who hails from Parambayam, was a bright student at the Union Christian College, Aluva, where he first came in touch with Simi activists.
An aeronautical engineer, Basheer reportedly had a brief stint at Delhi’s Safdarjung airport.
His name figures on Central Intelligence Bureau dossiers — a CBI case was filed against him and two others in Ahmedabad in 1992. He is also suspected to be involved in the March 2003 blasts at Mulund station, which killed 12 people.
The CBI case (RC 6 S 1992) registered under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act was his first known brush with the law. Khalistani terrorist Lal Singh and Saquib Abdul Hameed Nachan were the others charged with planning a series of blasts.
Basheer evaded the CBI dragnet while the others were convicted and jailed for 10 years. Nachan escaped from jail in 2001 with Basheer’s help.
The ex-Simi chief’s name cropped up in connection with the Mulund blasts after accused Noor Mohammed Abdul Ansari said Basheer had organised men and money for the operation.
Mumbai police recently alerted Kerala police about Lashkar’s plans to cause blasts in the southern state. In the last few weeks, state police have seized explosives from Kochi and Kozhikode.
Police chief P.K. Hormese Tharakan said the explosives were of low calibre.
State intelligence has been on alert since mobile phones and telephone numbers with links to people in Muslim-dominated Malappuram were seized during Operation Sarp Vinash in Kashmir recently.
But police have been unable to make much headway in investigations.
Kerala police believe many Muslim youths have been recruited by Lashkar and trained outside the country. Disaffected and educated Muslim youths have been gravitating to extremist outfits. This can be gauged from the increasing popularity of the National Development Front, an umbrella grouping of outfits and individuals from other organisations.
The Muslim League, the mainstream party for the community, is worried at the inroads the front is making into its ranks.
It is devising employment schemes in Malappuram district to wean youths away from extremism.