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Serial blasts: Key man from Kerala hiding in Bangladesh

May 21, 2009 15:04 IST

Investigators into the serial blasts that rocked various Indian cities have identified a Kerala-based chief recruiter who personally handpicked men for terror operations.

Son of a rich businessman in Kannur, 35-year-old Haji Umar, aka Nasir, was working for the now defunct Islamic Seva Sangh before joining the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

The interrogation of the 10 arrested persons in connection with the Bangalore blasts case has revealed how Umar recruited youth into the terror movement.

Another startling discovery is that Abdul Hameed, one of the men recruited by Nasir, was assigned to assassinate E K Nayanar, former chief minister of Kerala.

A senior police officer in Bangalore told that Nasir's arrest could lead to major terror plots being hatched across India.

In Kerala, the first thing Nasir did was to identify men for the operations. Not only did he handpick operatives for operations, he also sent a large group to fight Lashkar's battle in Kashmir.

During the first leg of his recruitment, he handpicked five men and sent them to wage the "Kashmir war". After training for a year, these men were sent to Kashmir to wage a war. Four of the five men were killed in the battle while the fifth man, Jabbar, was picked up by the joint investigation team of the Kerala police.

Jabbar said Nasir had recruited him and sent him across the border where he trained in armed combat and also underwent AK-47 training.

The Bangalore police said Nasir's arrest was key to all investigations.

"Not only will it help crack this case completely, but it will also give a fair understanding to the Kerala police, too, about the various recruitment hubs there are in that state.

Nasir, however, has fled to Bangladesh.Interpol's help has been sought to track down this man, the police said.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru