Police on Thursday arrested a former Indian Air Force (IAF) employee who they believe is the "mastermind" of a terror module that included Saifullah, a suspected terrorist killed in an encounter on Wednesday.
According to The Indian Express, police said 56-year-old Mohammad Ghaus Khan, a resident of Anwarganj in Kanpur who took voluntary retirement from the IAF in 1993, was arrested in Lucknow while 24-year-old Mohammad Azhar, who is from Chakeri and runs a mobile phone shop, was held in Kanpur.
Khan "is a technical man and a hardcore member of the module," Additional Director General of UP Police Daljit Chaudhary said, adding he was the "main accused and mastermind" of the module. He said Azhar, the second suspect, was the main supplier of arms to the module. He did not say where he was arrested from, or in what capacity Khan worked in the air force.
The UP police claimed that with these two arrests, all the main members of what they alleged was an Islamic State influenced module are in custody.
The latest arrests raised to five the number of people in the UP police custody in connection with the blast on the Bhopal-Ujjain train in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. The MP police also arrested some people.
On Wednesday the UP police arrested three men after an encounter on the outskirts of Lucknow in which Saifullah was killed after a 12-hour ATS operation. Police say he and his alleged accomplices carried out the train blast in which at least ten persons were injured.
Police say he was self-radicalised and was influenced by the West Asia terror group, Islamic State. Saifullah's father has refused to claim his son's body, saying anyone who carries out a terror attack is a traitor to the nation.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Ghaus Khan's son Abdul Qadir said he has no sympathy for his father as he was not loyal to the country. Qadir, who stays in Jajmau area of Kanpur, said most of the times the family would have no clue about his whereabouts. He (Khan) mostly stayed in Lucknow and no one in the family knew about his movements, he added.
According to The Indian Express, Qadir said: “My father was in the Air Force and had taken Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) a long time ago. Since then, he had been regularly changing his business. He started dealing in property recently. I last met my father two days ago in Lucknow. We went to our ancestral house in Rae Bareli district and from there, my father left for another place. If my father is involved in anti-national activities, then the police and court should take action against him. If he is innocent, then he should not be harassed.”
When media reached Qadir's house, he told them he has no idea where his father was and confirmed that the ATS did not arrest him from there.
"I have no sympathy with my father. Jab wo desh ke nahi ho sake, to hum logon ke ka honge (When he could not be loyal to the nation, how would he be loyal to us)," he said.
He added that no one in the family was in good terms with Khan and nobody would talk to him. "Every time he would come home from Lucknow, some people used to visit him. Last time a few people had visited him, and today we heard about him in the news that he has been arrested... he had a passport and had even visited Saudi Arab," Qadir told reporters.
On Wednesday, slain terror suspect Saifullah's father had made a similar remark after refusing to accept "a traitor's" body.
Notably, terror suspects Saifullah, who was killed in an encounter on Wednesday in Lucknow, Faisal alias Faizan and Imran, who were held from Kanpur and Unnao, Danish, who was held from Madhya Pradesh, and Khan, who was held on Thursday, lived within a radius of one km in Kanpur's Jajmau area.
UP Police later in a statement released on Thursday also said that one of the terror suspects, Faisal Khan, has been taken on 10 days of police remand.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 10, 2017 14:55 PM