Two IM terrorists killed, 1 caught, 2 flee; Inspector killed

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New Delhi, Sep 19 (UNI) In the first ever encounter and subsequent killing of Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, police shot dead two of its militants, including a key conspirator in the September 13 Delhi blasts, in Jamia Nagar area of South Delhi this morning, even as one of its most decorated officers laid down his life in the operation.

Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal told the media that a key suspect in the Delhi blasts, Atif alias Bashir belonging to the Indian Mujahideen (IM), was among the two terrorists gunned down in an encounter with the police at about 1100 hrs at Batla House.

''A resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Atif was also involved in the Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts besides the September 13 Delhi blasts.'' The other slain terrorist was identified as Shajid, he said, adding that one AK 47 assault rifle and two .30 regular pistols were seized from their hideout, along with some computers and papers.

''While one person, Mohammad Saif, has been arrested two others managed to flee from the spot. In all, there were five persons.

They had been staying here in a rented accommodation for the last two months.'' While eight rounds were fired by the terrorists, the police fired 22 rounds in retaliation, he informed.

Of the two policemen injured in the exchange of fire, Inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma later died in the hospital.

Sharma had received four bullets in the abdomen.

Head Constable Balwant, who was hit in the hand, had been operated upon at AIIMS Trauma Centre and is said to be out of danger.

The Commissioner also said that, an operative of the Indian Mujahideen, Atif had gone to Ahmedabad on July 24 along with ten people, carried out the blasts there on July 26 and then returned to Delhi on July 27 along with 12 people.

Stressing his point that Atif was one of the key conspirators behind the September 13 blasts here, the Commissioner said the blasts bore his typical signature of two detonators, small timer device and usage of ammonium nitrate.

Mr Dadwal also clarified that today's encounter was not based on a tip by Abu Basher who was brought here yesterday by the Gujarat Police.

''Contrary to media reports, the encounter had nothing to do with Ahmedabad blasts mastermind Abu Basher. It was the effort of the Special Cell which acted on its own intelligence.'' However, questions are being raised on the way the Delhi Police, which was reeling under the impact of September 13 blasts and received a shot in the arm after after today's encounter 'success', gave diverse information regarding those ''killed, arrested and escaped'' today.

Earlier in the day, a senior police official informed the press that HuJI terrorists had been killed while in the evening the Commissioner told the media that Indian Mujahideen ultras were killed.

Secondly, after declaring the arrest of three people, following the encounter, police later rescinded its claim with the Commissioner saying that only one person had been arrested.

Digging holes in police's theory, experts questioned how anyone could living on the top floor of a three-storeyed building escape, especially when the house had already been cordoned off much before the first encounter shots were fired.

They also aver that soon the other two arrested, as declared earlier by the police, would be shown either as arrested after a couple of days, marking another success story or liquidated in any other ''encounter''.

Meanwhile, intelligence agencies here said that Atif was the chief plotter not just of the Delhi serial blasts but also of Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts and that his house in South Delhi was used as a base to plan and execute them in all the three cities.

They also added that Tauqir, said to be involved in Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts, was Atif's deputy.

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