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Sept 11 was the first date for Delhi blasts

The top controllers of IM had wanted to execute the Delhi blasts on Sept 11, two days before the blasts took place, to make the terror spectacular by associating with a date when the WTC was attacked seven years ago, reports Abhishek Sharan.

delhi Updated: Oct 16, 2008 01:14 IST
Abhishek Sharan

The alleged top controllers of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) had wanted to execute the serial blasts in Delhi on September 11, two days before the blasts took place, to make the terror spectacular by associating with a date when the World Trade Center was attacked seven years ago.

The reason why the IM had chosen September 11 as the date of the blasts indicated the extent to which the group’s top leadership is ‘inspired’ by the Al Qaeda.

“Indian Mujahideen’s top leaders –– Riyaz Bhatkal, Amir Reza Khan and the former’s brother Iqbal Bhatkal –– had originally chosen September 11 as the date of the serial blasts. But the date was ultimately changed to September 13 after much deliberations,” said a senior blasts investigator, who requested anonymity since he is not authorised to talk to the media.

The investigator added, “The IM top leadership, according to revelations made during interrogations of their arrested accused in the case, were fascinated by the date 911. But they discarded it since they thought it would link them up with the Al Qaeda, while they wanted the IM to be known on its own for its terror attacks.”

Sources claim that the IM might also have not wanted to attract global attention by “associating openly with the Al Qaeda, which is in the ye of the US war on terror.”

The IM’s main controller sent an SOS to his Pakistan-based handler a day after the Jamia encounter.
A day after the September 19 Delhi police encounter at Jamia Nagar, that resulted in the busting of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) module which was allegedly responsible for the September 13 blasts, the group’s Mumbai-based top controller had e-mailed a SOS to his Pakistan-based chief.

Thirty two-year-old software engineer and alleged top IM controllers Sadiq Sheikh, who is now in custody with the Mumbai police, had sent the e-mail, a copy of which is with HT, to the group’s Pakistan-based alleged chief Amir Reza Khan on September 20.

In the e-mail, composed in Hindi, Sheikh discreetly discussed the September 19 police encounter at Jamia Nagar in which the group’s operations chief Atif Ameen and aide Chotta Sajid fell to Special Cell’s bullets, while another operative Mohamed Saif was captured alive.

Sheikh rued over his inability to get in touch with the group’s absconding logistics chief Riyaz Bhatkal and also indicated his apprehensions. Confident about his overt life as a desktop engineer with a reputed software firm, Sheikh admits he was ‘fine’ though he had taken the care of having ‘switched off the mobile phone’ already.

“Kya haal hai mai mazay mein hoon (sic), khabar dekhi hogi.” (How are you? I am well… you must have read the news) reads Sheikh’s e-mail, sent to Khan at 3.01 pm using his account on September 20.
Sheikh added in his terse, coded text, “Mera mobile off hai, mera Annu (pseudonym of Riyaz Bhatkal) se contact nahi ho raha hai.” (I have switched off my mobile, I haven’t been able to contact Annu).