September 13. Saturday. 6.17 pm.
A powerful explosion in an auto-rickshaw ripped apart Gaffar Market in central Delhi.
Four more explosions follow within minutes of each other at Greater Kailash-1 M Block Market, Central Park and Barakhamba Road.
Twenty-six people were killed and more than 65 were hurt.
A week later, police gunned down Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid — alleged members of homegrown terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) — in a raid at Batla House area of Jamia Nagar. Mohammad Saif, another IM suspect, was arrested.
Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma lost his life in the encounter. Two “terrorists” fled from the scene.
Several politicians and human rights activists including Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh alleged the encounter was fake. The National Human Rights Commission was asked to probe the case, which gave the cops a clean chit on July 22.
In the days that followed, 11 terror suspects were arrested from across the country.
Sixteen others, including Abu Al Qama — the alleged mastermind of 2005 Diwali serial blasts and 26/11 Mumbai attacks — are still on the run.
Police have issued a look out circular against the accused and declared rewards on their arrest.
“We are still on the chase of the absconding bombers. While 12 have been arrested, there are 16 others who are still on the run,” said Rajan Bhagat, spokesman, Delhi Police.
Police said a module of 30 members carried out the serial blasts in Delhi. A collective reward of Rs. 32 lakh has been declared on the arrest of the absconding bombers. Delhi Police have 128 eyewitnesses in the case who will testify against the 12 who have been arrested.
IM, an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror outfit Laskhar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), recruited young men, many of them students and computer professionals, to carry out the blasts.
Police said the IM took logistical support from Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI) and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
It also carried out several attacks in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh.
“Atif Ameen who was killed in the encounter and the head of the northern wing of IM took admission in MA (HRD) at Jamia Millia Islamia University on the basis of a fake B.Sc degree to motivate youngsters to join militancy,” says the chargesheet filed by the police.
The group also had a media wing that sent out terror mails five minutes prior to the blasts to all media houses from unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
Most of the alleged bombers were natives of Saraimeer in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. So far police have filed five chargesheets in the case.
One of the bombers, Mohammad Shakeel, reportedly even got a haircut to avoid detection after planting a bomb at Gaffar Market and Central Park in CP.
Two days after the blasts, Ameen reportedly met Shakeel at Jamia Millia University and scolded him for the delay in inserting battery in bombs that did not detonate as planned.