The net to nab Indian Mujahideen’s operations chief Yasin Bhatkal (30) was woven over three years ago when an associate’s wife inadvertently used his mobile phone alerting security agencies.
Bhatkal alias Mohammed Siddibappa, who has an Interpol Red Corner Notice pending against him, along with his associate and terror suspect Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi were intercepted at Pokhara in Nepal by a team of IB sleuths.
“Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in a theft case in Kolkata in December 2009 and got released on bail. It was around this phase that he had got his personal belongings including three mobile phones handed over to another IM operative Qateel Siddiqui who in turn gave them to an associate’s family,” said a source.
The source said, “Qateel’s associate’s wife, who was tasked to keep Bhatkal’s belongings in safe custody, had begun using one of his three mobile phones that was detected by the intelligence agencies, which were aware of it and had been trying to nab Yasin since he was attempting to fall off the radar after around 55-60 IM operatives had been arrested in the country during late 2008 and 2009.”
When officials grilled the associate’s wife, she claimed it belonged to her husband but her bluff was called off during verifications, according to the source. The trail revealed the phone had belonged to Bhatkal and that his associate was Siddiqui who was linked to a local counterfeit currency syndicate.
“It was West Bengal’s special task force that approached the Delhi police, seeking information on Qateel Sidiqui and providing his personal particulars to them. It led to the arrest in November 2011 of Qateel in Delhi and the consequent busting of modules operating out of Darbhanga in Bihar and Nanded in Maharashtra,” said the source.