Terror threats cloud I-day preparations

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Chennai, Aug 14 (UNI) As tight security measures were put in place on the occasion of Independence Day to thwart any terror attacks in the city, the city police were sent into a tailspin following anonymous calls that bombs were planted in mosques in Kottivakkam, Palavakkam and Vettuvankanni areas on the ECR stretch today.

Police along with bomb detection squad personnel combed the mosques under the Neelangarai police jurisdiction. The calls, purportedly made from a BSNL coin-drop box, however, turned out to be a hoax.

The unprecedented security arrangements were undertaken in the wake of police busting a terror-module that plotted to trigger serial blasts in various parts of the state, including Chennai on I-Day tomorrow.

Chennai Police Commissioner R Sekar, who was involved in night patrolling, said three-tier security arrangement were put in place in the city involving nearly one lakh police personnel.

Patrolling and vehicle checks have been intensified and surveillance mounted on movement of suspicious elements. All the lodges have also come under police scanner to nab anti-socials.

The terror plot hatched in the Puzhal Central prison came to light following the arrest of Muslim Fundamentalist Abdul Gaffoor at Tirunelveli. His confession led to more arrests and also brought to the fore the involvement of banned Jihad Committee member and an expert trained in Pakistan for manufacture of IEDs Ali Abdullah in the conspiracy.

Ali Abdullah hatched the conspiracy, to trigger 1998 serial bomb blasts in places of worship in Chennai and Tirunelveli and in moving trains on August 15, in the prison where he was lodged in connection with several bomb blast cases. A fresh case was slapped on him and he was eventually arrested by police.

As interrogations revealed involvement of several Muslim fundamentalists in the conspiracy, police have launched a massive manhunt to nab them and had tightened security to prevent any possible attack tomorrow.

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