Slackness on the part of Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy, leader of the media wing of Indian Mujahideen, and his aides helped the police arrest the five alleged terrorists from Pune on Monday.
The police said Peerbhoy, a software engineer, and his techie aides should have ideally gone underground after the arrests of five Indian Mujhahideen operatives including co-founder Mohammed Sadiq Ishrar Ahmed Sheikh in Mumbai. But Peerbhoy and his friends — Asif Bashir Sheikh, Mubin Kadar Sheikh and Mohammed Atique Mohammed Iqbal — decided otherwise thinking the police would not be able to reach them.
“They were in a state of shock when they heard about the (five) arrests,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Deven Bharti.
Also, Peerbhoy and his aides had revealed little personal details to Riyaz Bhatkal or his brother Iqbal or any other Indian Mujhahideen operatives. Hence, they believed that the police would not be able to reach them easily.
But Peerbhoy had overlooked one loophole — Mohammed Arif Badruddin Sheikh, who made bombs for Indian Mujhahideen. Sheikh had led the police to the techies. Peerbhoy had taken Sheikh, a native of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, to Pune by road and kept him at a rented apartment at Ashoka Mews in Pune for five days. Peerbhoy had deliberately chosen Sheikh for the job as Sheikh was not familiar with Pune, and hence would not be able to locate the place.
At the apartment, Arif made the bombs that were later planted in Ahmedabad. But, during this period, Arif had observed Peerbhoy’s office premises from outside, said Crime Branch officials.
After Arif’s arrest, the police asked him to guide them to the apartment. Not familiar with the place, Arif asked the police to be taken around Pune to identify familiar lanes. The Crime Branch officials took Arif around the city for four days before he identified the office and flat at Ashoka Mews that led to the arrests of Peerbhoy and others.