A small slip-up by terror outfit Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) top operative Riyaz Bhatkal has irrefutably established his presence in Pakistan.
“Riyaz Bhatkal had opened a chat account with user ID ‘menothing1’ on Nimbuzz instant messaging platform, available on personal computers and mobile phones, and which he accessed in Pakistan as per the data provided by the service provider. It is the only instance of Riyaz’s electronic trail leading up to Pakistan,” said a counter terror official requesting anonymity.
After the arrest of two senior IM operatives – Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi in August last year -- the National Investigation Agency (NIA) managed to lay hands on their hundreds of online chats with Pakistan-based top associates Riyaz and Mirza Shadab Beg.
While sifting through chats, one that took place between Riyaz and Yasin on December 9, 2012 seemed to have an innocuous kind of detail but it nailed Pak involvement in patronising the IM.
In a chat on Yahoo! instant messenger Riyaz (user ID ‘patara_singh’) told Yasin (user ID ‘hbhaddur’) that he had created a separate ID ‘menothing1’ on Nimbuzz platform and it was for emergency use only.
For all his online chats, Riyaz use to mask his Internet Protocol (IP) address using proxy servers to avoid leaving any electronic trail leading to Pakistan, NIA sources said.
“But in case of Nimbuzz ID, the service provider informed the NIA that user ID ‘menothing1’ was created and accessed on September 12, 2012 in Pakistan using a Nokia smart phone modal E 71 with password 15147. The session lasted 159 seconds and the client type was Symbian, which is the famous Nokia operating system of earlier days,” said the official.
The NIA is likely to send fresh judicial request to Pakistan seeking his arrest and deportation to India. After the Batla House encounter in Delhi in September, 2008, Riyaz along with his elder brother Iqbal Bhatkal shifted to Karachi and since then have directed many terror operations in India, say Indian security officials.