Yasin Bhatkal, chief of Indian Mujahideen’s India operations, planted the bomb at Dadar in the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts himself, according to the confessional statement of Nadeem Sheikh, a key accused in the triple blasts.
The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) which is probing the case has also learnt that six persons planned the conspiracy on July 7, a week before the blasts. Three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) went off at Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar, claiming the lives of 27 persons, and injuring 127 more.
Sheikh’s statement, which runs into 25 pages, details the conspiracy, meetings, financial transactions and also information about how IM operatives went about executing the blasts.
Recorded before an additional chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in March, it was opened before the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) court last week during the hearing of the bail plea of Kanwar Pathrija, an accused in 13/7 serial blasts for receiving and delivering terror money through the hawala channel.
The conspiracy began in February last year when Bhatkal came to the city, and with the help of Naquee Ahmed and Sheikh, hired a room on rent at Habib building in Byculla.
Once they shifted to the rented accommodation, Sheikh claims that two others, identified as Waqas and Tabrez, who have been named as planters at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar in the 13/7 charge sheet, joined them. Sheikh was introduced to Waqas and Tabrez on February 22, 2011.
Later, on July 7, six persons including Bhatkal, Ahmed, Waqas, Tabrez, Munnabhai and Sheikh had met at Habib building to plan the serial blasts. According to Sheikh’s statement, Bhatkal’s main objective behind the terror act was to create communal disharmony in Mumbai.
After the meeting, Bhatkal had asked Ahmed and Munnabhai to steal two two-wheelers, tank them up with fuel and hand them over Waqas, who, along with Tabrez, was directed to plant them at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House.
Money for the entire operation was sent through hawala channel by Riyaz Bhatkal through Haroon Naik’s network of hawala operators.
A sum of Rs10 lakh was given to Yasin, which he passed on to Tabrez and Waqas.