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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Bhatkal, aide name fellow IM activist as key hand in major terror attacks

Soumen Datta, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 20, 2013
First Published: 11:48 IST(20/9/2013) | Last Updated: 11:51 IST(20/9/2013)

NIA sleuths quizzing terror accused Yasin Bhatkal and key aide Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi have picked up leads on Tahesin Akhtar, a fellow Indian Mujahideen activist who had earlier arrested up from a Bihar village and was key hand in serial blasts across the country since 2006.

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The ter ror duo had earlier spilled leads on Waqas; a Pakistani national involved in all major serial blasts across the country over the last three years.

The sleuths have learned that Tahesin had worked closely with the Pakistani national in the days leading up to the Mumbai serial blast on July 13, 2011 and the terror attack in Pune on August 1, 2012.

However, during grilling sessions with the NIA sleuths, Yasin and Akhtar claimed to have had no link with Tahesin over the last one year.

With the NIA still hunting for leads in the Bodh Gaya blasts and the terror duo denying any hand in the incident, the sleuths are looking to probe Tahesin’s complicity, if any, in the incident.

The NIA sleuths have learned that Yasin was in touch with fellow IM activists Riaz and Iqbal Bhatkal through online chatting and had been using coded language during the parleys.

The NIA has reportedly landed a body of evidence on their hand in the serial blasts in the suburban trains of Mumbai in 2006. The explosives had been planted in pressure cookers inside the trains.

During interrogation, both Yasin and Akhtar confessed to the involvement of Waqas and Tahesin in the Mumbai serial blasts in 2011. The explosives went off within minutes of each other at Zaveri Bazar, Dadar and Opera House, leaving 27 dead and another 127 maimed.

They said the duo had rented a flat at the Byculla Habib Building in Mumbai in the days leading up to the 2011 blasts and set the bombs. Bhatkal was also a fellow lodger at the time.

The duo also confessed to their hand in the explosion that shook the Junglee Maharaj Road of Pune in 2012 and said they had rented a flat in the Kaserwadi area and took aliases. “I took the name Shaqir and Waqas went around as Ahmed,” Akhtar told NIA officers.

Sources quoting NIA sleuths said Waqas is well versed in the art of bomb making and also has an expertise in manufacturing circuits used for setting explosives. Tahesin too is an expert bomb maker and took lessons from Waqas, said sources.

The names Waqas and Tabrez first surfaced in the light of the Pune blast in August 2012.


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