Mumbai/Aurangabad: Two more terror suspects were arrested from their hideout in Buldhana district of Maharashtra on Tuesday, a day after state ATS apprehended a man wanted in 2008 Ahmedabad blasts following the gunning down of his accomplice in an encounter in Aurangabad.
Akheel Khilji (45) and Mohammed Jafar Hussain Qureshi (32), former members of banned outfit SIMI, were apprehended by ATS from their rented house at Pimpalgaon village in Buldhana in central Maharashtra, police said.
A 7.65 mm pistol, five live rounds, documents related to two bank accounts in Madhya Pradesh of Akheel, who used to head Khandwa's SIMI unit, and documents were recovered from them, police said.
The duo, booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), have close links with home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), police claimed.
Akheel is the father of Mohammed Shakeer, who was arrested on Monday along with Mohammed Abrar Babu Khan (32), suspected to be involved in the Ahmedabad blasts that claimed 56 lives. Their aide Khaleel Qureshi (20) was shot dead in an exchange of fire in Aurangabad, central Maharasthra.
The arrested persons, according to police, had carried out a spate of bank robberies in Madhya Pradesh and used the money for terror funding. "The gang had also spent the money on legal expenses of their aides who are behind the bars now," a police officer said.
The Madhya Pradesh-based gang, earlier headed by Abu Faizal, a former member of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), had been trying to set up a base in Maharashtra. Its members had been staying under bogus names in rented houses in Aurangabad, Jalna and Buldhana districts, he said.
Police said IM's key operative Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqueer, wanted in several terror cases, had been given shelter for four to five months in 2008 by Abu Faizal who was nabbed in June last year by MP Police.
Tauqueer was one of the speakers at the terror training camp organised in Kerala where some of these gang members had undergone training in 2008, police said.
Faizal, Abrar and Akheel were also closely associated with another IM key operative, Safdar Nagori, police said.
After Faizal's arrest, the gang was headed by Akheel and Abrar who bought a flat in Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) for Rs 15 lakh, which they got after selling part of the 12kg gold they had looted from a gold finance company in MP.
"The Jamshedpur house was being used as the address to get passports for the gang members who can be sent out for terror training," the officer said.
"After Faizal's arrest last year, the gang was planning to shift to Maharashtra," said an official.