Indian Mujahideen was not involved in the July 7 Bodh Gaya blasts, Yasin Bhatkal and Asauddin Akhtar alias Haddi, the two Indian Mujahideen leaders arrested on Thursday morning claimed during interrogation on Thursday-Friday.
Sources in NIA said Bhatkal told HT both claimed IM was not at all involved in the incident that rocked the country and even countries abroad. “He even claimed that a political party of India was behind the blast,” said the officer.
Bhatkal and Haddi were taken to Bihar Military police lines at Patna from Raxaul by road and then interrogation was started. Mainly the senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers interrogated them thoroughly.
NIA officers, S Imannuel, SP of Hyderabad and DIG S F Shapoo also interrogated the two IM leaders till late on the Friday morning.
So far the NIA was clueless about the Bodh Gaya blast. They started questioning the two on the blasts at the Mahabodhi Temple complex on July 7.
But both Bhatkal and Haddi kept vigorously denying any involvement of the IM in the blasts. “It is too early to believe their claims. We will interrogate them thoroughly and examine the reality once we get possession of the two from the court,” said the officer.
Bhatkal has also ascertained that another IM member, Amir Reza Khan, is still in Pakistan and staying at Old Karachi area. “He had even gone to Pakistan to meet Amir last year,” said the officer.
Apart from Bhatkal, Asauddin had also visited Kolkata frequently in 2010 and 2011. The IB officers who interrogated the duo thoroughly learnt about their connections in the country especially the sleeper cell that was pressed into action during different serial blast cases.
The IB officers also questioned the two IM leaders to know about their financers in and outside the country. The central intelligence agency also asked questions about the fake Indian currency notes, its route and the masterminds.
The In 2009, Yasin Bhatkal came to Kolkata and stayed Chandni Chawk area. Qateel Siddiqui, another IM activists who was murdered at Yerwada Jail In Pune on June 8, last year by jail inmates had brought Bhatkal along with him to stay Humayun’s house. Qateel Siddiqui was the cousin of Humayun.
But Bhatkal identified him as Imran. Qateel Siddiqui had told Humayun that Bhatkal would be in his house for a few days for preparation of examination.
A few days later Qateel left Kolkata and Imran was staying at Humayun’s Chandni Chawk House. Sometime later, he too disappeared.
During investigation the NIA learnt that Bhatkal was arrested by the Kolkata Police STF in fake currency note case after tip off from IB. But he was released as his identity could not be established.
As no fake currency could be recovered from him, he got bail. He had returned to Humayun’s house to collect a bag. Humayun had kept his bag at his tenant, Mohammed Aslam’s house.
After collecting the bag, Yasin Bhatkal left Kolkata.
Bhatkal’s staying in Kolkata came into light after the arrest of Qateel Siddiqui. After prolonged interrogation by Maharashtra Police, STF Qateel confessed that he had indeed taken Bhatkal to Kolkata for shelter.
Yasin Bhatkal was wanted in various terror attack cases in India including the Bangalore stadium blast in 2010, Pune blast in 2012 and the Hyderabad Blast this year. Bhatkal, an original resident of Karnataka and the founder member of the Indian Mujahideen, a shadow organisation of Pakistan based LeT.