Saqib Nissar, the “friendly face” of the terror module of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), told police though he accompanied Atif alias Bashir to Ahmedabad for a reccee prior to the blasts, he did not plant a bomb on July 26, the day Ahmedabad was rocked by serial blasts.
He reportedly told the police that he was to sit for an examination and so he could not accompany Atif to Ahmedabad.
Saqib, who is pursuing a correspondence course in management from the Sikkim Manipal University, was arrested on Sunday from Jamia Nagar, along with two other suspects –– Zia-ur-Rehman and Mohammad Shakeel.
“Saqib told us though he had accompanied Atif on July 11 to chose the blast sites at Ahmedabad, he failed to make it on the date of the blasts as he had to appear for an examination. We are verifying his claims, as he may be trying to save himself,” said a senior police officer.
A senior police officer said Atif had booked the tickets for Ahmedabad from Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi.
“On the day of the Ahmedabad blasts (July 26), Atif boarded Rajdhani Express around 4.45 pm along with 12 other members of the terror module. An hour later, the city was rocked by 17 serial blasts,” said the officer.
“We have recovered the reservation slip filled by one of the suspects from the railway authorities,” the officer added.
Police said it was Atif who had meticulously planned the operations and no one else knew about the plans. He did not even disclose the timing of the explosions to the other members of the group.
“Atif had given specific instructions to the recruits and asked them to stay at least 30 metres away from the blast site as the effect of the explosions would not be able to reach beyond that,” said the officer.
On September 13, the day Delhi was hit by a series of bomb blasts, Saqib had to plant another explosive in Karol Bagh.
“As per Atif’s plan, two bombs were to explode in Karol Bagh, but the plan could not materialise as Saqib’s explosives developed a snag and he was asked by Atif to stay back at L-18 flat,” said the officer.
Police said the three suspects have given them vital leads and are corroborating their versions.
Mohammad Shakeel, who was the ideologue of the IM group after Atif, told the police that Atif was indoctrinated by Mufti Abu Bashr, a SIMI activist who has been arrested by the Ahmedabad Police.
“Abu Bashr was able to indoctrinate Atif only in two hours,” a police officer said.