Counter-terror officials are on a country-wide hot pursuit of alleged current chief of Indian Mujahideen (IM) in India, Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, who could be arrested anytime soon, sources told HT.
Mohammad Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, after his arrest on August 29 last year, told investigators that Tehseen, 23, was the operational India head of IM dealing directly with Karachi-based top IM operative Riyaz Bhatkal. Tehseen is allegedly involved in the Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad blasts.
Read: Arrested terror suspects from affluent backgrounds
"Tehseen is considered one of the most hardcore jehadis currently operating in the country who wants to break free from the control of Pakistan's ISI. He is a strong advocate of IM directly working under Ayman al Zawahiri-led al Qaeda," said an official.
Tehseen and Waqas have always worked in tandem and most of the time use to stay together. Both were believed to be in Nepal when Waqas was spotted by assets of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
Read: IM operative Haddi confirms Waqas had al Qaeda links
The NIA has declared a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on Tehseen's whereabouts, originally a resident of Maniarpur village in Samastipur district of Bihar.
"If Tehseen is arrested, it would be a big jolt to IM but they have another operative in Hyder Ali to succeed him," said an official.
Read: Rajasthan: 4 IM terrorists nabbed, explosives seized
One of the four suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists arrested by special cell of Delhi Police in Jodhpur. (PTI Photo)
Ali is suspected to be the mastermind of last year's Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts. He was responsible for raising the Raipur-Ranchi module of SIMI cadre and IM. Tehseen and Waqas provided material support and know-how to fabricate IEDs for both operations.
Read: Arrests of terrorists big success, says Sushilkumar Shinde