Probe begins into IM operative’s paragliding course

Panaji, Sep 8 (IANS) The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Goa Police has begun a probe into a paragliding course undertaken in the state in 2013 by an alleged Karnataka-based Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative, police said.

He undertook the paragliding course near the popular Arambol beach in Goa, located 45 km from Panaji.

Speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity, a police official said the probe was ordered on Monday, following news reports in the Karnataka media last week and subsequently in a local newspaper here, which said that one Syed Afaque, who was arrested by the Bengaluru police in connection with a terror plot earlier this year, had undertaken a five-day paragliding course in Goa.

“We have started our probe into the reports. As a routine, we are also updating the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Bengaluru police about our findings,” the official said.

Afaque, an alleged IM operative, was arrested in January this year for his alleged involvement in a terror plot, along with three others from the same outfit.

Media reports, quoting officials in the Bengaluru police familiar with the interrogation of Afaque, had said that he had undertaken the paragliding course at the Keri plateau overlooking Arambol beach in 2013.

The reports had also raised questions as to whether the IM was looking at potential ways to carry out terror strikes, possibly using paragliders.

“We have questioned the para-gliding trainer and the guest house where Afaque had stayed. We have sought more information from our counterparts in Bengaluru,” the official added.

Several terror suspects including David Headley, who was arrested by the US law enforcement authorities for assisting the terrorists who carried out the deadly 26/11 strikes in Mumbai and IM operative Yasin Bhatkal, have also confessed to intelligence agencies about having carried out recces in Goa, one of the most popular beach tourism destinations in the country.

Goa attracts nearly three million tourists every year out of which half a million are foreigners.

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