Banned in 2001 under POTA, SIMI’s strongest presence seems to be in Maharashtra, signalling a shift from homebase UP. The series of commuter blasts in Mumbai since last December shows the extent of its sway in the state. A network of its operatives, reportedly acting in tandem with the Lashkar-e-Toiba, was linked to the blasts on a Ghatkopar bus on December 2, 2002, and in a train at Mulund station in March that claimed 11 lives.
After the recent Mumbai blasts, the police also claim to have busted SIMI ‘modules’ in Kurla and Padgha on the outskirts of Mumbai, reportedly controlled by secretive underground figure Saquib Nachen. Several arms training camps for cadres were held in the forests near Padgha. Operations were also traced to surrounding areas like Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane and Mumbhra and other Maharashtra districts like Aurangabad, Pune, Jalgaon, Malegaon, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli and Solapur.