Mohammad Ahmad Sidibapa, better known by his operational name Yasin Bhatkal, was preparing suicide bombers or fidayeens to take jehad to the next level in India, say investigators.
His accomplice Tarique Anjum Hasan had told interrogators that Yasin had asked him to provide a safe place to hide one person named as Chotu (most likely an operational name) in Delhi. Chotu stayed in Delhi for quite a few days and later escaped to his native state Karnataka.
With Yasin in their custody, investigators are now seeking more details about his plans to raise suicide bombers.
Bhatkal has been kept in high security base of a paramilitary force in the outskirts of Delhi. His interrogators include top raking intelligence officials and National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths.
In the initial round of questioning, Yasin has given names of his handlers from Pakistani spy agency ISI and associates from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
According to sources, Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives give 10% of their salary to raise funds for their operations. Other sources of funds included donation, Maal-e-Ghanimat (looting of the treasury of enemies), money sent from Pakistan through hawala and circulation of fake Indian currency notes.
Investigators say it was Yasin’s strategy to form as many hide-outs in far-flung areas as possible to save Indian Mujahideen operatives from a desperate situation that the group faced after the Batla House encounter in September 2008. Yasin was in the fore-front of efforts to re-group the IM after the Batla House encounter.