| Suspected Kashmiri militant Bilal, alias Imran, with the arms and ammunition seized from him. Telegraph picture
Bangalore, Jan. 5: If police are to be believed, terrorists nowadays catch a bus to their target, carrying bags stuffed with AK-47s, ammunition, hand grenades and satellite phones.
If the chief minister is right, Infosys has just escaped an attack because the state’s police keep themselves armed with precise details of bus schedules and militants’ travel plans.
Two months after netting two alleged Pakistani terrorists in Mysore amid a cloud of unanswered questions, the police sprung another surprise in Bangalore today.
Around 5.30 in the morning, a suspected Kashmiri rebel climbed out of a private bus on the city’s outskirts after a night journey from Hospet. He carried three bags.
The police, who had “definite information” that he would get off at Jalahalli cross, 12 km from the city, were delighted when he walked into their arms.
At noon, city police chief N. Achyut Rao told reporters the terrorist, who had identified himself as Imran alias Bilal, 32, did not resist arrest. It was only after they opened his bags that the police found the AK-47, four magazines, 300 bullets and five hand grenades hidden among his clothes.
He also had a mobile, extra SIM cards, a satellite phone and some documents.
“We had information from the central intelligence agencies that Imran would get down at Jalahalli. We were waiting for him,” Rao said.
The state’s new police chief, K.R. Srinivasan, was at the news conference. He said “maps of Bangalore city with vague markings” had been found on the suspect.
Srinivasan added that Imran had been running a handicrafts shop in Bellary, near Hospet, as a cover for the past four years. “His nationality is still to be ascertained.”
If there was a definite tip-off about a terrorist riding a bus to Bangalore with three bags of ammunition in the boot, why was he allowed to travel for eight hours with grenades that could have gone off by accident'
Why was he not arrested at the boarding point, Hospet, last night' What if he had got off in between with his bags and disappeared'
The police didn’t answer.
Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy added to the confusion by saying the lone terrorist had the Infosys campus and the Vidhana Soudha — the seat of power in the state — as his targets. Highly placed sources said Kumaraswamy, who is in Lonavla for a Janata Dal (Secular) conclave, was not briefed properly.
Many believe the man was picked up from Bellary on December 28 and today’s announcement is a belated New Year gift to Srinivasan from his force.
In Mysore in October, too, police had claimed its two suspects had been caught after a midnight firefight. Within hours, police had found a laptop, desktop, satellite phone and bomb-making chemicals from their den and had made the duo sing. Normally, it would take weeks to crack their computer password, let alone get to the hard disk.
Later, the police admitted the suspects had been nabbed at least 15 days earlier as they tried to get Indian passports.