Burdwan blast's Bangladeshi mastermind Sajid arrested

Kolkata: Achieving a major breakthrough in the sensational Burdwan blast case, West Bengal Police Saturday arrested Bangladesh citizen Sk. Rahamatulla alias Sajid, described as the chief of the Burdwan module, from near the Dum Dum airport here.

"We arrested Sk. Rahamatullah alias Sajid from Jessore Road (under the airport police station). He is a resident of Farajikanda village in Bangladesh's Narayangunj district," Bidhannagar police commissioner Rajiv Kumar told media persons.

"Preliminary interrogation revealed he was connected with the blast and was heading the Burdwan module. The NIA has also said so and had also announced a Rs.10 lakh reward for information leading to his arrest," he said.

The 33-year-old Sajid, a senior leader of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was staying near Lalgola Madrassa in Mukimnagar of Murshidabad district, ahead of the Oct 2 blast inside a house at Khagragarh of Burdwan town, around 100 km from Kolkata.

Commissionerate officers said Sajid had spent many years in jail in Bangladesh.

The accidental bomb explosion had left two suspected JMB militants dead and another injured and broke the lead on the most sensational jihadi terrorist conspiracy in the state in recent times.

"According to unconfirmed reports, Sajid is also member of the majlis-e-shura (central committee) of the JMB," he said.

Sajid was picked up around 2.30 p.m., after police intercepted a courier who was supposed to hand over Rs.1 lakh to him.

"The Anti-Terrorism Squad team was following information about some illegal monetary transaction, connected to terror funding. Our men intercepted a courier when he was receiving the money. They managed to convince him to call Sajid. We laid a trap and rounded him," the police commissioner said. The money has been seized.

Many fake identity documents like Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), driving licence, PAN card and other items have been seized from his possession.

Sajid was arrested under section 41 of the Code of Criminal procedure (when police may arrest a person without a warrant) a day after the National Investigation Agency - which is probing the case - nabbed his close associate and key 'jihadi motivator' Zia-ul-Haque from northern West Bengal's Malda district in connection with the blast.

Sajid was handed over later in the day to the NIA.

The Narendra Modi government had entrusted the probe to the premier counter-terrorism investigation agency Oct 9, disregarding objections from West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee government.

The Commissionerate officers refused to give details about the findings.

"Interrogation is on. We can't reveal more about the operational details now. Because then the operation may be in problem," an officer said.

The NIA has taken into custody five people, including two women, in connection with the blast.

The NIA had Wednesday secured the custody of Abdul Hakim, a key accused who was injured in the blast, and announced cash awards for information helping in the arrest of the absconding accused.

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