Nine SIMI activists to be produced in court today

Ahmedabad, Aug 17 : Nine Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists, who were arrested on Saturday in connection with the Ahmedabad serial blasts, will be presented in court today.

The alleged mastermind Mufti Abu Bashir, a SIMI activist from Uttar Pradesh, was produced before the special CBI Judge (Lucknow) Rekha Dixit, who allowed three-day transit-remand of Bashir to Gujarat police.

The Gujarat Police said Bashir and the others arrested were behind the serial blasts that killed 57 people in Ahmedabad three weeks ago.

Police officials claimed that the group headed by SIMI leader Safdar Nagori had executed similar blasts in Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Gujarat Director General of Police P C Pande on Saturday said that the Indian Mujahideen, which had claimed responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts, was nothing but "another form" of the banned SIMI.

Speaking about the Hyderabad blasts, Pande claimed that Bashir had stayed in that city for two years prior to the August 2007 blasts.

The nine arrested are: Jahid Sheikh, Yunus Mansuri, Shamsuddin Sheikh, Arif Kadri, Gyasuddin, Imran, Usman Agarbattiwala, Iqbal Sheikh and Sajid Mansuri.

The Crime Branch had earlier arrested SIMI activist Abdul Halim from the Dani Limbda area of the city during a combing operation. He is currently in judicial custody.

Police have interrogated a number of people all over Gujarat, which also included eyewitnesses and possible suspects.

The State Government has formed a special committee consisting of representatives from investigating agencies of Gujarat and that of other States and Centre.

A series of 17 bombs ripped through Ahmedabad on July 26 killing 49 and injuring several people, a day after bombs killed one woman in the IT hub of Bangalore.

Many of the bombs were packed into metal tiffin boxes and stuffed with ball bearings. Some were left on bicycles and two were reportedly car bombs. (ANI)