In an early morning operation in a sleepy rain-hit city suburb, security agencies picked up four college students and a man from Delhi, suspected to be members of a sleeper cell of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), from a house at Vijayaraghavan Nagar in Selaiyur on Sunday.
At least three other students and another man, however, escaped the dragnet. “All the students are from Bihar. Based on an input from intelligence agencies, the people staying in the house were picked up early on Sunday morning. Five of them were detained for further questioning while the others, including two software professionals, were let off after initial enquiry,” official sources said here.
“Detection of suspected terror modules gains significance particularly in the background of a pipe bomb being found on BJP leader L.K. Advani’s yatra route a month ago in Madurai. The anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition is also around the corner,” a senior police official said.
Of the four students picked up, one is doing MBA while the other three are students of engineering in private colleges, two of which are attached to Anna University. The 52-year-old man from Delhi who was also detained is said to be the uncle of one of the students.
“Another elderly man had also come to visit the students. He and three other students are now missing. The missing students are studying engineering,” said a police official.
Those in Indian intelligence circles believe that IM had branched off from Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) after the government banned the latter.
IM is believed to be behind the 2008 May Jaipur blasts and the 2008 July serial bombings in Ahmedabad.
A team of Delhi police officials and intelligence sleuths are said to be interrogating the detained students.