An alleged terror operative located in Hyderabad, Obaid-ur Rehman, is suspected to be the man who passed on information about the recce conducted by the Indian Mujahideen (IM) duo Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan to their Saudi-based handlers.
Obaid, a Hyderabadi, is presently lodged in a Karnataka jail and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is contemplating seeking his custody for interrogation as he is emerging as a key link between Maqbool and his Saudi-based handlers. He is alleged to have had links with Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).
Sources associated with the investigation disclosed to Express that the contact between Maqbool and Obaid-ur Rehman was established about three years ago when the former used to be a fruit vendor in the Saidabad area.
Obaid-ur Rehman was said to be in constant touch with Siddiq bin Osman, a Hyderabadi of many aliases based in Saudi Arabia.
Having come to know that Maqbool and Imran used Obaid’s motorcycle to conduct their recce, investigators are trying to nail the identity of the man who relayed the information unearthed by the duo.
‘’Available leads indicate that Obaid-ur Rehman could have passed on this information to the Saudi handlers at the behest of Maqbool, who was essentially a bomb maker. Though Obaid is in jail, we are looking for some of his associates,’’ they said.
In fact, investigators have learnt that Obaid provided shelter to Maqbool for several months somewhere in Saidabad.Sources associated with the questioning of Maqbool and Imran said the duo have only been repeating what they had already revealed. So the NIA is now contemplating to bring Obaid into the picture so that he can throw more light on his and Maqbool’s activities.
However, sources say that though Maqbool has confessed to conducting recces of only five places in city, it now transpires that the two IM operatives checked out at least 12 places, including the Secunderabad and Kachiguda railway stations and a crowded place in Malkajgiri. Of all of the places they surveilled, they zeroed in on Dilsukhnagar, Begum Bazar, Ranigunj, Abids and Koti.
Duo taken to Dilsukhnagar
Sources said Maqbool and Imran Khan were taken to Dilsukhnagar late Saturday night by an NIA team to verify whether the blast sites were the very ones they had identified their recce of Dilsukhnagar. The Hyderabad City Police, however, feigned ignorance of this development. They said the NIA’s line of investigation is entirely different from theirs. However, sources confirmed that so far there have been no concrete leads.
Picked up, let off
The investigators are understood to have picked up Rayeesuddin, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, for questioning once again.