Indian Mujahideen leader, Yasin Bhatkal targeted young boys, including those in their teens, for recruitment to his modules to carry out terror attacks in India.
During his interrogating by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and intelligence officials at the Bihar Military Police (BMP)-5 campus, before being flown to Delhi along with his associate Asadullah alias Daniel alias ‘Haddi’, Bhatkal disclosed the various stages for induction.
“We first identify potential boys and recruit them for a particular operation. If that succeeds and the names or identity of the boys does not surface, then we take them to the second stage, which is induction into the cadre for intensive training. The selected ones are also taken to Pakistan and assigned bigger roles and fat sums,” he added.
According to intelligence sources, Bhatkal, who is from Azamgarh in UP and controls IM activities in India, was initially restrained when put through the grill on Friday, but gradually opened up to admit his involvement in a string of terror attacks, including the 2010 blast at German Bakery in Pune that killed nine persons and injured 60. The police also have the video footage in which Bhatkal is clearly visible. Interrogators said, Bhatkal’s specialty was that he led from the front in any operation.
He also confessed that he, as well as his accomplices, had taken permanent shelter in various parts of Nepal due to its easy accessibility.
On August 16 last, Pakistan-based terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba's (LeT) 'expert' bomb-maker Abdul Karim Tunda was also arrested from Nepal.
“Nepal is easily accessible and that makes to and fro movement easy. I used to get Rs. 2-crore in funding from Pakistan via Dubai, Qatar or other middle-east Asian countries, which I regularly visit. I have visited Bihar also a number of times in the past,” Bhatkal told the interrogators.
Bhatkal had raised huge amount of money for IM activities through the network of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) along Nepal and Bangladesh borders. He has the ability to fashion Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) as well as enter any city with a different identity to conduct recce in the area,” a police source said.
Interrogating officials said, Bhatkal had set up various modules, viz. Azamgarh module, Darbhanga module etc. and was in the process of creating more by recruiting young ones. Bhatkal was in direct contact with Aamir Raza, the supreme boss of the IM who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, and worked on his orders.
Raza, along with Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Abdul Subbhan Qureshi alias Tauquer, Safdar Nagori and Yasin, had formed the IM to carry out bomb blasts in major cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Jaipur, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Varanasi, interrogators added.
Haddi, who changes his identity and name quite often, also confessed to his hand in the Benaras and Ahmedabad blasts. “He admitted that Asif killed in the Batla house encounter was his module,” said sources.
Haddi has a passport from Bangladesh issued in the name of Daniel, while he admitted to have been trained in Pakistan.