Lucknow: The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police achieved a major success with arrest of three "hardened terrorists" in Lucknow on Friday and foiled their attempt to kidnap a "very important politician" of the state.

Police would not confirm the identify of the politician targeted by the militants who were arrested after a tip-off.

A leading Indian television station, however, reported yesterday that militants plotted to kidnap Rahul Gandhi, scion of India's famed Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.

NDTV, one of India's top news outlets, said the three militants planned to abduct the telegenic 37-year-old federal parliamentarian to bargain for the release of scores of imprisoned comrades.

The three militants, arrested early morning in Lucknow after fierce encounter with the police, are members of the banned organisation, Jash-e-Mohammad, and they hail from Pakistan, police said.

Weapons recovered

They were identified as Mohammad Abid, Yusuf and Mirza Rashid Beg. A huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession. The police said they recovered two sophisticated AK-47s, hand grenades and ammunition from the arrested terrorists.

"We followed up on intelligence inputs and arrested them. We have recovered a huge cache of arms including AK-47s and hand grenades. We suspect they have RDX also," said the state's Director General Of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh. Three identity cards with their photos affixed were recovered. They were imparted training in Pakistan and Afghanistan, police said, suspecting them to be suicide bombers.

When asked to confirm whether the arrested militants planned to kidnap member of the Lok Sabha from Amethi Rahul Gandhi, the Director General of Police refused to tell name of the politician who was on their target.

He said that they were being interrogated.

The DGP said that the police would disclose the name of the politician today. He said arrested militants revealed that they wanted to get release of terrorists including Afzal Guru.

The militants revealed their the terms and condition for safe release of the kidnapped politician during interrogation, Singh said.

- With inputs from agencies