KOLKATA: Burdwan blast prime accused and Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative Burhan Sheikh (30) was arrested by the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police at B B Ganguly Street near Sealdah Railway Terminus here Thursday night.
Burhan would be handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA), which had declared an award of Rs 3 lakh on his head and named him in the NIA chargesheet on Burdwan blast. The award money would be given to Kolkata STF.
Sources said Burhan's whereabouts were tracked after interrogating JMB operative and Burdwan blast accused Maulana Yousuf Gazi, who was nabbed along with five other JMB operatives in a major operation on the Indo-Bangladesh border in September last year. "The tracking of Burhan became easier after he crossed the border from Bangladesh and took shelter in one of the hideouts in Murshidabad district," a police officer said.
The NIA had earlier claimed that Burhan had undergone training at several JMB training camps in Bangladesh. With Burhan's arrest, the total number of people nabbed in the case has reached 27. As many as 38 people are accused in the case.
Two JMB operatives were killed in an accidental bomb blast at Simulia Madrasah in Khagragarh in Burdwan district of West Bengal on October 2, 2014. The blast had exposed the network that JMB had set up to recruit and train potential operatives from impoverished Muslim-dominated villages in Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal.
Burhan owned the eight cottahs on which Simulia Madrasah stood and had planned, along with Yousuf, to construct another madrasa besides the existing one. Burhan's mother lives alone in their ancestral residence at a stone's throw from Simulia Madrasah. The probe agencies highlighted the role of Burhan's wife Shahnawaz Begum and Yousuf's wife Ayesha Bibi in radicalising and training women at the madrasa. Both the accused women are absconding. Shahnawaz is suspected to be a Bangladeshi national.
Police sources claimed that Burhan had fled to several hideouts in Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad districts before slipping into Bangladesh since police launched a manhunt to nab JMB operatives in the state after the bomb blast.