It was a dark, dingy room near Darbhanga airport from where Indian Mujahideen chief Yasin Bhatkal started recruiting a new bunch of IM operatives after his release from a prison in West Bengal, according to the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS). Bhatkal was arrested in a fake currency racket, but went unidentified as the kingpin of terrorist activities after he identified himself as Shahrukh to the West Bengal police.
Nadeem Sheikh, whose confessional statement Hindustan Times has accessed, has said that Bhatkal had chosen the area as it would have been tough for people there to identify him. Bhatkal married Mohammed Irshad Khan's daughter in Darbhanga, where he later met Mohammed Kafeel Ahmed.
Bhatkal would spot recruits and Kafeel used to indoctrinate them into IM, said ATS officials. Kafeel, a 55-year-old resident of Darbhanga who ran a cycle repair shop in the Bihar district, has been arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting the conspirators in the 13/7 blasts case.
All this happened in the house which did not even have electricity. Later, Bhatkal's association with Kafeel earned him a place in a local madrassa, where he used to then train recruits.
Once Bhatkal found his recruits, he moved to Mumbai to plot the 13/7 blasts and roped in Waqas and Tabrez. Kafeel, meanwhile, maintained his cycle repair shop, and would provide vital logistics for conducting the blasts, said ATS officials.