Maharashtra wants ATS representation in NIA


Mumbai: Maharashtra will seek permanent representation of the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the elite National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe several terror incidents in the state, state Home Minister R.R. Patil said here Wednesday.

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Patil told reporters that the state government has interrogated the two terror suspects nabbed last week in connection with the Feb 13 bombing at Pune’s German Bakery.

“Now we want to probe the role of David Coleman Headley, who was also the prime conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. So we shall request that the NIA should have a permanent representative of the state ATS,” Patil said.

The Maharashtra ATS last week nabbed two prime suspects in the Pune German Bakery blast – Mirza Himayat Baig of Udgir, Latur, and his associate, Shaikh Lalbaba Ahmed Hussain Farid alias Bilal of Nashik.

Asked about the motive behind the Pune terror blast, Patil said: “It was aimed to create a rift between communities.”

The state home minister added that so far, Baig and Bilal have been questioned by police from 17 Indian states in view of the deep roots of the Indian Mujahideen network. “We have gathered concrete evidence against the two accused,” Patil asserted.

Responding to a query on alleged discrimination in police recruitment, Patil revealed that for the first since independence, as many as 117 Muslim police constables have been recently recruited into the state police force.

He said that the government plans to ease norms of police recruitment in all categories to ensure that there is no discrimination of any kind against any candidates.