BHUBANESWAR: The arrest of SIMI operatives was not achieved in a few days. If the final planning took two to three days, it was result of a year-long collaboration between the Intelligence Wing of Odisha Police and its Telangana counterpart.
Since April last year, the two agencies have been trailing the last of the Khandwa Module of SIMI. It was a simple robbery in Dhanbad-Alleppy Express in the intervening night of March 14-15 which was the starting point.
The six robbers had snatched cash and mobile phone of a Rourkela-based youth. His voter ID card was also taken away. But they dumped the card after the robbery. The SIMI operatives, who were operating out of Ranchi and Dhanbad, were on their way to Andhra Pradesh in the same train. One of them picked up the abandoned voter ID card which is of tremendous use for securing documents and mobile SIM cards. A fortnight later, when two of the group - Md Aslam and Md Aijazuddin - were killed in a police encounter at Nalgonda district, the voter ID card was recovered. That led police to the original holder of the card but after verification, he was found innocent.
However, Odisha Police dug up the matter and found that the group members had briefly stayed at Rourkela back then too.
“We had some information about them while Telangana Police was using its intelligence sources too. We kept working on it and got the lead about their Rourkela hideout and kept surveillance,” said sources.
Although the five had moved in, not all of them stayed together. Most of the times, three of the four men would be outside. That continued for a couple of months. Only about a week ago, all five members came together.