On Friday, Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested an operator who allegedly belongs to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and had been ordered to kill several eminent Indian politicians and film personalities; he was also instructed to carry out bomb explosions in several cities. Going by the name Faisal Hasan Mirza (32), he is an electrician by profession and a resident of Jogeshwari, Mumbai.
According to ATS officials, Mirza’s associating with LeT strengthened after his trips to Sharjah and Dubai. An alert by the Kolkata police actually led to his arrest. It is believed that Mirza came in contact with the Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Amir Reza Khan, who then arranged for the former to reach Karachi. This was picked up on by the Kolkata police.
According to senior STF officers in Kolkata, Mirza took training at a LeT training camp in Karachi on how to handle explosives and automatic weapons and was instructed on how to carry out suicide bombings. Mirza returned to Mumbai around March and then waited for further instructions on when to carry out the attacks.
Kolkata police put him under surveillance as soon as he returned. They then alerted the Maharashtra ATS who’s Juhu unit arrested Mirza at his residence. Once arrested, he was produced in court and has now been remanded to police custody until the 21st of May for ATS to extract further information. His cooperation may help the ATS carry out further arrests.
ATS officials have reason to believe that the camp Mirza attended in Karachi was backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Kolkata STF also said that, “In Pakistan, Mirza remained in touch with Amir Reza Khan. Khan is wanted by the Interpol for his role in the 2001 abduction of Partha Roy Burman and a 2002 terror attack on American Cultural Centre in Kolkata.”