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Abu may be creating trouble in Gujarat

Abu may be creating trouble in Gujarat

Author: Neeta Sharma
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: May 10, 2002

Abu Salem, accused in the Bombay serial blasts, may now be fomenting trouble in riot-torn Gujarat. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other investigative agencies are interrogating two of his associates, Sajjan Soni and Pawan Mittal, arrested in Delhi this week.

The IB plans to interrogate them further on Salem's activities in Gujarat.

According to a police official, Soni and Mittal have said Salem had met them in Malaysia in March and briefed them about operations he wanted to be carried out in Delhi and elsewhere.

They have also admitted that both have been in touch with Salem ever since. "They used to talk to him every other day and report on the operations," he said.

The police has no information on Salem's current whereabouts. The number they called has been traced to Armenia. However, say officials, it could be arranged through a conference call to look like the number was in Armenia, and it does not prove the Salem is indeed in that country.

Soni and Mittal are also being interrogated about Salem's terrorist and underworld links.

Sources say Salem is back in business, after a short break. They add that over the past two years, Salem and his friend, Bhudesh, have set up safe houses in Bahrain, Nairobi, Kenya and Zurich. Salem, helped by his influential parents-in-law, has also procured a US visa.

"His exact location is not known. At times he is in Bahrain, while at other times, he is in the US. He keeps on moving," said the police official.

According to him, intelligence agencies here have identified and located more of Salem's associates and plan on arresting them. "They (Soni and Mittal) were just the facilitators, now we're looking for the coordinators who planned the operations," said a source.

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