Not only were they caught unfazed during a major police crackdown on their terrorist outfit, the Bhatkal brothers’ last stop in the country was their captured co-ideologue’s residence in southeast Delhi, sources claimed on Tuesday.
Riyaz and Iqbal, the Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) godfathers who have allegedly been behind every terrorist onslaught perpetrated in the country after 2005, were Delhi for months even after the Batla House encounter in 2008.
“They were very much in Delhi till early January 2009 and were staying at Tariq’s residence more than three months after the Batla House encounter, before they left for Nepal and then reached Karachi,” an officer said. This is what Mohammad Tariq Anjuman Hassan (31), a civil engineer, and one of the IM’s founding members, has told investigators.
Tariq, who was nabbed by a special team of the Delhi Police from Nalanda’s Bihar Sharif area last Thursday, had harboured the Bhatkal brothers at his rented flat in Shaheen Bagh near Jamia Nagar.
“Tariq has now come clean about the fact that he, Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal were practically neighbours the entire time after taking-up rented accommodations around Batla House,” the officer added.
HT had reported on February 3 that Tariq had been working at a consultancy firm in Khirki Extension till late November 2011 before a crackdown on his colleagues in Chennai, which triggered his escape to Bihar.
Tariq was allegedly among the five men who transformed the Students’ Islamic Movement of India into a militant, guerrilla outfit that the IM has now become – almost overnight in 2003. “We are combing five more cities where we suspect IM has a significant presence. More arrests, especially from Karnataka, will be made soon,” the officer said.