Hyderabad blasts: Cops probe info about one-man sleeper cells around Hyderabad

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Updated: Feb 26 2013, 16:17pm hrs
Hyderabad blasts: Sleuths investigating the twin blasts in Hyderabad are looking into the possibility of youths from small towns around Hyderabad helping the bombers by providing them bicycles and arranging a safe place in Dilsukhnagar where the two bombs were assembled.

They are also sifting through info given by arrested LeT operative, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, about one-man sleeper cells who were kept on standby for terror operations. Haq was held on May 3, 2010, for lobbing a bomb inside Odeon Theatre in Chikadpally in May 2006.

Apparently, Haq had told the police that he himself was a one-man sleeper cell.

Though he worked as a cab driver and used to earn Rs 2,500 a month, he said, he was regularly getting hefty amounts through the Western Union Money Transfer. His handlers had told him to be ready for a job whenever asked to. He had said that there could be many more individual sleeper cells that could be activated when needed. Investigators believe since many Hyderabad youth are under surveillance, youth from East Godavari and Nalgonda and towns around Hyderabad may have been roped in to help the bombers.

Six youths, who were arrested after the Mecca Masjid blast but acquitted later, were questioned on Sunday. They were asked if they could recall or know anyone who was behaving suspiciously or was not at home for a couple of days.

Sleuths asked them if they knew about the IM operative Syed Maqbools visit to the state early last year. Maqbool was arrested by the Delhi Police in October 2012. He had met suspected ISI agents Firoze Khan and Abid Khan on January 4, 2012. The two are now lodged in Nellore district jail.

They had apparently built the network of former SIMI sympathisers. The police are now verifying the activities of a couple of former SIMI activists in East Godavari and Nalgonda in the past few weeks. Officials doubt that one of them could have suggested the names of persons who could be recruited to provide local support for Dilsukhnagar bombing to Maqbool.

Unlike conventional terror cells that comprise of individuals with assigned roles, the members of one-man sleeper cells are not hardcore terrorists but youths often indoctrinated and kept on standby.

An official said they have regular jobs and lead normal lives with their families. But are often reminded by their handlers about their duty. Since they work alone, their chance of getting caught is minimum. Investigators believe such individuals could have provided bicycles to the bombers.