Shahrukh alias Ahmad Siddi Bappa, 28, the alleged mastermind of the terror module busted by Delhi Police, managed to evade arrest in Chennai by a whisker three nights ago.
According to Delhi Police sources, Bappa is involved in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts and is a trusted lieutenant of the Bhatkal brothers, Iqbal and Riyaz, the key Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives now hiding in Pakistan. In their absence, he has become the flag-bearer.On November 27, he escaped a police raid on a flat at Selaiyur area in Chennai where he was staying. "When we reached the rented flat, other occupants told us Bappa and his friend had left at 9.30pm - half an hour before the raid began - to withdraw money from an ATM," said a senior Delhi Police officer.
According to investigators, Bappa had recruited all five Indian members of the busted terror module. His name first hit headlines as Shahrukh, who had handed over IEDs for blasts in Delhi on September 13, 2008.
When a blast ripped through the German Bakery in Pune in February 2010, a close circuit camera recorded footage of the bomber, who investigators believe resembles Bappa.
Initially, investigators believed he had left India with other top IM operatives after a nationwide crackdown on the outfit in August-September 2008.
But now it has emerged he had stayed put, raising another module for carrying out strikes across the country.
Investigators have found Bappa's name cropping up several times during questioning of IM operatives. Some said he was present at a IM meeting arranged by Iqbal and Riyaz at Jolly beach in Bhatkal, Karnataka.
During the meeting, Bappa, Riyaz and Iqbal gave lectures on preparing an IED, choosing location for planting the explosive and how to work under the radar of security agencies.