In an intelligence-led operation in May 2005, the Maharashtra police recovered 16, AK-47 rifles, 3200 cartriges, 43 KG RDX explosive, 50 hand grenades and 40 magazines in Aurangabad district.
More than half a dozen accused were arrested but the two main accused Zabiuddin Ansari and Fayyaz Kagzi managed to escape. Ansari and Kagzi, now well-protected in Pakistan and part of the ‘Karachi Project’ of ISI, came back to haunt Indian intelligence operatives when they planned a deadly bomb blast in the German Bakery in Pune in February, 2010.
The Karachi Project, handled by two former Pakistani army majors, Abdul Rehman Pasha and Haroon, uses home-grown jehadis for carrying out terror operations in India. Haroon and Pasha, both arrested in Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks under the American pressure, were very close to al Qaeda military commander Ilyas Kashmiri who was recently killed in a drone attack.
According to intelligence inputs, apart from Kagzi and Ansari, there are many home-grown jehadis who are now part of the Karachi Project and are living in Pakistan, plotting terror activities in India and the latest Mumbai blasts could be handiwork of a module linked to any one of these jehadis.
Rahil Shaikh was living on the Grant Road in Mumbai, when he managed to give a slip to the Delhi police party and fled to Pakistan via Nepal.
An old Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Rahil was closely associated with Bhatkal brothers — Iqbal and Riyaz — who were instrumental in creation of Indian Mujahideen (IM).
There were reports of Riyaz being killed in a shooting in Karachi earlier this year. But so far Indian intelligence agencies have no independent confirmation of the report as the photo provided as proof of his killing turned out to be a morphed one.
According to sources, Riyaz was trying to revive the IM. He had plans to use suicide bombers. Gujarat-based criminal Rasool Khan ‘Party’ and Mufti Sufian Patingia, a cleric from Ahmedabad and accused in the assassination of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya, are also believed to be in Karachi. Another important jahadi is Abdul Aziz Gidda from Hyderabad. Any of them may be involved in the latest case.