NIA arrests ‘LeT operative’ at Mumbai airport


On Wednesday a suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative, Asadullah Khan also called as Abu Sufiyan (57), wanted for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to recruit Indian youths to carry out terror acts, was arrested at Mumbai airport by the National Investigation Agency’s Hyderabad branch.

NIAAsadullah was detained in Saudi Arabia nearly ten months ago in connection with a 2012 case, which is referred to as the LeT Bengaluru conspiracy case. An Interpol notice for his arrest had been issued in 2012.

The NIA in a statement Wednesday said Asadullah was arrested for his alleged role in a “criminal conspiracy to kill prominent religious persons, journalists, police officials at Bengaluru and Hubli city’’. Following his arrest in Mumbai, Asadullah was taken to an NIA court in Bengaluru.

He had been identified as Mohammed Asad Khan in an Interpol red corner notice, and as Accused Number 24, Asadullah Khan alias Asad Khan alias Abu Sufiyan, in a November 2012 NIA chargesheet in the alleged LeT conspiracy to recruit youths in India for terrorist activities. A resident of Hyderabad who had been working in Riyadh for several years, he was alleged to have been a part of the LeT’s conspiracy meetings.

As per the NIA, he participated in 2011 meetings in Riyadh involving LeT-linked terrorists from Hyderabad — Abdul Bari alias Abu Hamza, Siddique bin Osman alias Abu Hanzala and Furkhan Bhai alias Abdullah, and also a few youths from Karnataka and Maharashtra to allegedly initiate terror acts in India. The NIA accused him of “attempt to murder, illegally acquiring or possessing fire arms, collecting men, arms and ammunition and preparing to wage war against India’’.

Of the five Indian youths, who allegedly participated in the conspiracy meetings, with Asadullah Khan and others, two have been arrested by NIA — a dentist from Mysore, Dr Imran Ahmed, and an MBA student from Aurangabad, Mohammad Akram alias Khalid.