Pune: Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, the alleged co-founder of terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen (IM), arrested on Monday by the Delhi police, is wanted in four cases in Maharashtra including one case in Pune.
According to Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officials, Tauqeer is wanted in the 2008 case related to circulation of jihadi literature. The case dates back to August 20, 2008 when ATS had arrested six persons for being alleged members of the banned organisation SIMI, who had come to Seven Loves Chowk on Shankarsheth Road to circulate jihadi literature.
ATS had claimed that they had seized 40 books in Urdu and four video CDs from the accused. German Bakery blast case accused Himayat Baig, who was later acquitted from bomb blast charges and Shabbir Gangavali were arrested later in the literature case. The ATS had also claimed that the documents carrying jihadi information seized from Baig’s residence in Udgir match with the jihadi literature seized from SIMI suspects in Pune.
Baig’s lawyer Kainat Shaikh told Sakal Times, “Baig and Gangavali have been discharged by the court as ATS submitted that there is no evidence against them. But the trial is on against other activists.”
Qureshi’s family resides in Nayanagar locality of Mira Road, Thane. His father Mohammad Usman Qureshi said, “He has not contacted us for about 10-12 years.
“He used to work in private company and also took tuition of local students here. He had joined SIMI which was not a terrorist organisation.”
Rajiv Yadav, general secretary of Uttar Pradesh-based advocacy group Rihai Manch which provides legal help to terror suspects, said, “We will provide legal help to Qureshi as his arrest is nothing more than a publicity agenda of intelligence agencies. After putting a ban on SIMI, intelligence agencies declared him, Nagori and other members as fugitives. But the reality is far from different as IM and other such organisation were patronised by Intelligence Bureau and these boys were operating in tandem with IB and were part of their operations. It is impossible to believe that Qureshi was out of their reach for 18 years and was operating in various states. But now they showed his arrest from Nepal, The reason his arrest is been declared because he no longer remains useful for them.This story is not only of Tauqueer there are many like him who were used by intelligence agencies for their gains and then showed arrested by them when their work gets over,” added Yadav
According to the police, Qureshi alias Tauqeer is a top leader of the banned organisation, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and also the co-founder of IM which was formed in 2003 in Bhatkal, Karnatka.
“He is accused of organising meetings of SIMI in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Kerala, training camps at Choral (MP), Wagamon (Kerala), Halol (Gujarat) and 2008 serial blasts in Gujarat. But every time, the police or other security agencies cracked down on the SIMI/IM, he vanished into thin air without leaving any trace of his next move. He has a good command over English, a deep knowledge of local as well as international issues pertaining to Muslims and most importantly, a gift of gab to influence and motivate impressionable minds into waging jihad. He has sound technological knowledge. He passed Microsoft Certified Software Engineering (MCSC), besides doing a course in Industrial Electronics from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Mumbai and hardware networking course. He had done his schooling from a Christian Missionary School in Byculla, Mumbai,” said DCP Pramod Singh Kushwah of Delhi police.
According to police dossier, in 1995, he started working as a customer support engineer at a company in Fort, Mumbai. During this period, he had also attended weekly programmes of SIMI in Kurla, Mumbai and came in contact with Riyaz Bhatkal, then a student in Byculla College, Mumbai. He became an ‘Ansar’ (helper) of SIMI in 1996. He got married in February 1999 and also switched his job location to Andheri East, Mumbai. By 2000, he had transformed into a highly radical youth, totally disillusioned with the establishment and determined to follow the ideology of jihad. By now, he had become a prominent member of SIM. The ‘Shura’ of SIMI assigned him the task of editing the English edition of its magazine ‘Islamic Movement’. He left his well-paid job in Mumbai and moved to Zakir Nagar, Delhi.
During his stay in Delhi, he grew very close to Safdar Nagori, the then General Secretary of Central Advisory Committee of SIMI. In 2001-02, after SIMI was banned in September 2001, some activists of SIMI were arrested in Surat, Gujarat and Qureshi’s name also figured during the investigation. To evade Surat police, he shifted his base to Bijapur, Karnataka. Safdar Nagori appointed him ‘Head Ansar’ of Karnataka operations. While staying in Bijapur, he frequently travelled to Bhatkal and revived his association with Riyaz Bhatkal and also came in contact with Iqbal Bhatkal. At that time, Bhatkal was the nerve centre of radical youths and Abdul Subhan who was by now second in command of SIMI, became a co-founder of Indian Mujahideen (IM) along with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.