A 50-year-old man — who police claim was a 'motivator' and the alleged architect of Indian Mujahideen's (IM) 'most recent and most active Darbhanga module' — was arrested by Delhi Police's special team from Bihar on Tuesday. The module has allegedly perpetrated at least three separate acts of terror across the country in the past three years.
Mohammad Qafeel Ahmed, who is allegedly the 'closest aid' of IM's main man Yasin Bhatkal, was arrested from Darbhanga's Shivadhara area. The team was headed by additional DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav.
"Ahmed has been working for the IM as a motivator, recruiter and communicator since three years. He helped many of its cadres get accommodation there in addition to radicalising aspiring members," said Ashok Chand, DCP (crime).
Residing at a local madrasa at Shivadhara, Ahmed's name had been uttered by various nabbed IM operatives during the interrogation, sources claimed.
Ahmed had a small, one-room house not far away from the madrasa. It was in this single room, sources said, where he would arrange interviews of aspiring IM cadres with Bhatkal by night while operating a small cycle repair workshop — his cover occupation — in the day.
"Everyone from IM founders Riyaz and Iqbal, the Bhatkal brothers, Ahmad Siddi Bappa and even Waqas and Tabrez, the two Pakistan-trained bombers who perpetrated serial blasts in Mumbai in July last year, have stayed in this room for months on end," said an officer.
Ahmed's room had served as the last stop for the Bhatkal brothers on their way to Karachi through Nepal. It had also been Waqas and Tabrez's first stop in India after they had taken the Bhatkal brothers' escape route to enter the country, sources said.
"He used his local goodwill and the experience of his age to provide logistical support, ranging from arranging accommodation to enlightening young blood about the principles of Jihad," said the officer.
"Gradually, boys handpicked by him became the outfit's new module in Darbhanga. Ahmed has confessed to having recruited at least 11 men so far – including Abdur Rehman, 19 and Mohammad Gayur Jamali, 21." Rehman and Gayur were arrested from a Chennai suburb on November 30 last year.
Dressed in a white kurta pyjama, Ahmed announced he wasn't involved in 'any blast' while on his way to be produced at the Tis Hazari district court on Wednesday morning. He has been sent to police custody till March 6.