Salman Ahmed (21) alias Chotu, one of the founding members of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) met the Bhatkal brothers in Dubai, police said.
Police said Riyaz and Amir Bhatkal, along with Amir Reza Khan, had founded the IM.
During his interrogation, Ahmed has told the police that the IM stopped recruiting youth from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh due to police pressure and too much media attention. All the 17 IM members arrested across the country till date belong to Azamgarh.
The IM was recruiting men from all over the country and the hotbeds were Mumbai and Pune, Ahmed told his interrogators.
Police said Ahmed, who reached Dubai on a fake passport procured in the name of Fahad Ansari, said he met several members of the IM in Dubai.
“Both Riyaz and Amir Bhatkal with fugitive terrorist Amir Reza Khan were present in Dubai and Ahmed went there as part of a strategy. He has told us that he met the duo in a tall building and after they moved to Pakistan,” said a senior police officer.
It was in Pakistan that Ahmed was given extensive arms and ammunitions training for 10 days, the police said.
“He also told us as there was pressure on IM’s functioning in Uttar Pradesh they were looking west for recruitment. Several sleeping agents of the outfit are active in Mumbai and Pune,” said the officer.