Task Force of the Kolkata Police on Saturday ‘collected’ information about wanted extremist Nasirullah alias Shohel Mahfuz in Dhaka in connection with a blast at Khagragarh in West Bengal on October 2, 2014.
The Indian counter-terrorism officials took the information about Shohel under Mutual Legal Assistance Requests in Criminal Matters just a week after his capture by the Bangladesh police in northern Rajshahi district, the Bangladeshi counter terrorism officials said.
A three-member team of STF, led by its commander, ‘collected’ details of Shohel, who now is in police custody over the July 1 café attack at Gulshan, in connection with the Burdawan blast and how his previous JMB network spread to Indian states and its beyond.
Shohel Mahfuz alias Nasirullah was also wanted by Indian National Investigation Agency over the explosion at Khagragarh under Burdwan.
Police headquarters counter-terrorism coordinator Moniruzzaman, also assistant inspector general (confidential), only confirmed that he held a meeting with STF officials in Dhaka and they ‘collected’ information about Shohel Mahfuz.
Bangladesh police on Saturday also handed over a list of suspected extremists who are believed to have sneaked into India.
Indian National Investigation Agency team will arrive in Dhaka on Monday for strengthening police-to-police relations in the field of countering terrorism.
Meanwhile, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, had put two key extremist suspects — Shohel Mahfuz and Jahangir Alam alias ‘Rajib Gandhi’ — face to face to determine how they orchestrated the attack at Holey Artisan café on July 1, 2016.
‘We have put them together to define the role of other suspects and also to check if any name has been left out,’ said CTTC’s additional deputy commissioner Abdul Mannan.
The CTTC officials said a metropolitan magistrate in Dhaka on July 9 remanded Shohel Mahfuz alias Abdus Sabur Khan in police custody for seven days after his arrest in Rajshahi on July 8 in connection with café attack case.
On July 10, another extremist suspect Jahangir Alam, who the investigators termed a plotter of the attack, was remanded in police custody for a six-day in another cased filed against him with Dhanmondi police station in November 2016 under the Anti-Terrorism Act for creating anarchy in the area.
Jahangir was arrested in Tangail on January 13 in a drive conducted by the CTTC.
The CTTC officials said Shohel returned to Bangladesh in December 2014 and joined hands with Bangladeshi-Canadian Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a coordinator of Islamic State-inspired faction of the JMB, who was killed in a joint operation in Naraynaganj on August 27, 2016, along with two of his fellows.
On July 1, 2016, twenty hostages — nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladesh-born American and two Bangladeshis — were massacred by the extremists inside the Café.
Counter terrorism officials said Shohel Mahfuz was one of the key figures after the then JMB leader Said ur Rhaman and current absconding leader Salauddin Salehin.
Moniruzzaman told New Age that he established the link between old JMB and neo-JMB.
Banned extremist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh amir Salauddin in a recent interview in their mouthpiece Sahm Al Hind Media denied that they had any faction.
He also said they opened Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India and activities in other places were continuing.
Salauddin in his interview said there was nothing called ‘neo’ or ‘old JMB’ rather ‘we were united, still are united and will remain united. But, it is true, a few disobedient, indiscipline and bad guys changed the allegiance to Islamic State and left us.’
‘We have no connection with them anyway,’ he said, adding ‘And the IS [operatives] are being identified with us to pass them off as neo-JMB.’
Salauddin’s interview was published on July 4 on their blog-post but it could not be independently verified by New Age.
A number of counter-terrorism officials were aware of the interview and were trying to examine the statement.
On February 23, 2014, extremists intercepted a prison van, opened fire on police, killing a constable, and snatched away three including two death row convicts — JMB chief Salauddin and Mizanur Rahman— at Trishal of Mymensingh.
CTTC chief Monirul Islam could not confirm the whereabouts of Salauddin but an independent security analyst told New Age recently that Salauddin was regrouping activists in India.
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