Nearly six months after the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 13, investigators may have made a breakthrough in the probe.
Technical inputs reveal that key Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Yasin Bhatkal aka Shahrukh was in Mumbai during the carnage and could have carried out the three explosions that killed 26 people. A massive nation-wide manhunt is on as there are firm indications that he has not left the country.
Considering that IM co-founders Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal are in Pakistan, investigators had surmised that Yasin Bhatkal could have crossed the border after giving a Delhi Police team the slip last November.
Top government sources said that an IM operative of the Madhubani module disclosed during interrogation that Yasin was missing from Delhi when the serial blasts were engineered in Mumbai. This has also been corroborated by the Mumbai location of Yasin’s mobile phone, which was seized when he slipped out of the Delhi Police team’s reach in Chennai.
Senior investigators, however, clarified that this input could just be a lead for a proper probe but nothing can be said till there is a corroboration of events on the ground. “Shahrukh (Yasin Bhatkal) is at present below the radar and is hiding in the teeming ghettos in the country,” said a senior official. He had moved to Delhi from Mumbai last year.
Security agencies and police teams are questioning suspects about the places where Yasin’s phone was used from.
The first indication of Yasin’s capacities and capabilities was revealed during the interrogation of arrested IM operative Salman aka Chhotu by the Uttar Pradesh Police's anti-terrorism squad last year.
Salman described Yasin as "aag ka shola (ball of fire)'' and the main pointsman of IM co-founders Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.
Although Salman indicated that Yasin ran into trouble with the police over a fake currency racket in 2009, security agencies have found no substantiation in police records.