Key Mumbai twin blasts suspect Nasir was shot dead by the police in an encounter near Ruparel College, Matunga, in central Mumbai. An associate of Nasir, identified as Hassan by the police, was also shot dead.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Satyapal Singh told rediff.com that the police were tracking Nasir's movement for some time.
A police team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Shankar Kamble of Crime Branch Unit 2 was tailing Nasir, who was travelling in a navy blue Maruti 800 car (DL 28 M 6184).
Near Ruparel College the cops challenged Nasir to stop and surrender. But Nasir, Singh said, whipped out a revolver and fired at the cops. He was killed in retaliatory firing, Singh added. Fourteen policemen were involved in the operation.
Ninety-two gelatin sticks, eight detonators, two alarm clocks and two American revolvers were found on the two gangsters, Singh said. Police Commissioner R S Sharma described the cache as 'huge' and one the largest recoveries made by the Mumbai Police.
The two were taken to the nearby KEM Hospital where they were declared dead before admission, the police said. The bodies have been taken to J J Hospital for post mortem.
Sharma said police got information about Nasir from the Hanif and his family who were arrested in the last week of August.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhaggan Bhujbal described the killing of Nasir as a 'major victory for Mumbai Police'. He said Nasir was the 'prime mover' of the twin blasts
The police said that Nasir met co-accused Hanif in Dubai and brainwashed him to avenge the killing of Muslims in Gujarat riots.
Both, the police added, came to India and conspired to engineer the blasts in Mumbai.
Nasir taught Hanif to make bombs and was with him till the eve of the blasts. Nasir, however, disappeared on the day of the explosions, the police said.
Hanif, his wife and daughter have been arrested under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in connection with the blasts.
Nasir is believed to be the founder of the Gujarat Revenge Force, which was formed after riots in the state.
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