ROURKELA: Meticulous planning, precision and swiftness of the unusually brief operation by multiple agencies led to the arrest of five SIMI operatives from a congested locality in Rourkela on February 17.
If Telangana police and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) were instrumental in providing credible inputs, it was Rourkela police which received a pat on its back from the Central agencies for flawless execution of the midnight operation.
A senior officer, involved in the operation, said that when it became clear that all the five SIMI operatives were staying at Qureshy Mohalla of Nala Road under Plant Site police limits, the operation was finalised a day before the siege after consultation with Telangana police and IB officials. In the absence of Rourkela SP A Singh, Sundargarh SP R Prakash was asked to take additional charge of Rourkela. SOG commandant Anoop Krishna was also involved and IGP (WR) RK Sharma took the lead with four SP-rank officers.
Since Nala Road is a sensitive area and IIC of Plant Site police station was absent, DSP RK Mishra was drafted from Zone-I, police sources said. After conducting several rounds of reconnaissance of the locality, junior officers were called on short notice. They were, in fact, unaware of the operation.
Another officer said the operation started around 2 am on the intervening night of February 16-17 and the entire operation, including deployment, was wrapped up in 15 minutes. The house owner, sleeping in the next room, had no inkling of the entire operation. A truck-load of equipment was taken to the spot and above 150 armed personnel were involved.
The entire block of the house and seven by-lanes were cordoned off and armed personnel deployed on adjacent buildings. A local was asked to knock at the door of the house where the SIMI operatives resided. He backed out on seeing huge deployment.
Police then knocked the door and Md Saleq came out of a room. On seeing armed police on adjacent buildings, he went back. Shortly after, operatives Md Saleq, Amzad Khan, Zakir Hussain and Md Mehboob’s mother Nazma Biwi came out without offering resistance, but Mehboob stayed put.
After several minutes of silence, Mehboob fired two rounds and police retaliated with six rounds before capturing him.
Incidentally, the night patrol of Plant Site police station, which passed through the adjacent Mahtab Road, was also unaware of the operation .