CHENNAI: Sleuths of CID’s special investigation division (SID) are working on a detailed plan to locate and dismantle terror group Al Umma’s sleeper cells in the state. Investigators will plant moles to gather intelligence on the activities of suspected members of the outfit in Tamil Nadu, sources said.
The plan is based on revelations by Al Umma operatives ‘Police’ S Fakrudeen, Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik. Information gathered from them during interrogation by a team of SID investigators in Bangalore, where they are being held in police custody, has worried senior officers. An officer said Al Umma’s network in the state was wider and their members more entrenched than police earlier believed.
The trio is in the custody of the Bangalore police in connection with the blast at the BJP office in that city on April 17, 2013.
SID investigators had suspected that the slaying of Hindu Munnani functionary Suresh Kumar at Ambattur last Wednesday was the handiwork of Al Umma operatives. Police said a witness confirmed that three assailants murdered Suresh Kumar. Police suspect that Al Umma has deployed three other sleeper cells with similar assignments.
Fakrudeen, Malik and Ismail, who police arrested in Chennai and Puttur in Andhra Pradesh last October, told police during interrogation that the Al Umma sleeper cells would target other leaders of Hindu groups and BJP members, an officer said.
Intelligence and SID officers at a high-level meeting decided to infiltrate localities in cities and towns where Al Umma operatives suspected to have hideouts, particularly in Coimbatore, Madurai and Melapalayam in Tirunelveli. Informants and undercover police officers will collect information first-hand about any increase in activity of suspected members of the terror outfit.
Following the instructions from top brass in the state police, Chennai police commissioner S George convened a meeting with the intelligence officers and discussed steps to tighten security for leaders of Hindu groups and BJP functionaries. Police are likely to provide each of them a personal security officer.