NEW DELHI: Blowing the lid off a sinister plot to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gatherings or assassinate other high-profile politicians in Delhi, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Delhi Police’s special cell sleuths are carrying out a joint operation to nab at least three to four hardcore Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who have managed to sneak in to Jammu & Kashmir from across the border.
At least four terrorists had infiltrated into the country last month and were in contact with Lashkar commander Abu Dujana for logistics and ground support, highly placed sources told TOI. J&K police has also been roped in for the counter-terror operation and at least two of the militants have been reportedly arrested in J&K.
The militants had two plans — to carry out a mass shooting in a Paris-like or 26/11 type attack at a gathering attended by Modi. The militant was supposed to blow himself off if he failed to penetrate Modi’s cordon, considered impregnable, or hurl a grenade at the crowd.
If the strike at the gathering could not be executed, the operatives were asked to eliminate a high-value target in Delhi or J&K which could have “political and communal ramifications,” sources said. The operatives used the word VIP often, as heard in intercepts and mentioned in an FIR registered by the Delhi Police.
The strike was to be “spectacular” as Dujana, the newly appointed Lashkar commander, wanted to make his presence felt in the country. While the modules and operatives prima facie indicate an ISI-Lashkar plan against India, sources in the intelligence agencies did not deny the possibility of al-Qaida’s Indian wing being behind the scenes.
The special cell registered an FIR against Lashkar and its operatives on December 1 and detailed the plans mentioned above.
In the FIR, Inspector Satish Rana, the first investigating officer of the case says that he was in his office at Lodhi Colony around 6pm on December 1 when a secret information was received through a credible source that Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned terrorist organization based out of Pakistan is planning/conspiring to carry out sensational terrorist attacks in Delhi and other places in the country in furtherance of its objectives. “The operatives are conspiring to target high profile personalities in Delhi by carrying out Fidayeen and grenade attacks,” the FIR says.
Sources also said that one of the terrroists from this group was arrested on November 24 during an operation conducted by IB and special operations group (SOG). Identified as Shabir Ahmad Malik, the suspect was in Jammu since November 20 and was staying at the house of one Amir Alam Gujjar at Bathindi area of south Kashmir. There were two others with him during the time of arrest. However, their role is not clear yet.
Meanwhile, teams led by inspectors Sanjay Dut and Govind Sharma went to J&K. Shabbir and others were interrogated by cell and others agencies. “Shabbir was given Rs 47,000 and was asked to conduct a reccee. He and others were then asked to carry out a Mumbai-like attack in Delhi or any other city. The plan to carry out an Udhampur type attack was also in the making,” an officer said. There were some custody-related issues between Delhi Police and J&K Police who have always been at loggerheads, sources added.
Despite several attempts special cell officers did not respond. An officer, in the know, said further details could not be shared yet in the wake of the ongoing operation.