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Operatives of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) intended to go global with two of them expressing a desire to fight in Syria against the Bashar-al-Assad regime, reveals the charge sheet against top IM operative Mohammad Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and his three associates- Assadullah Akhtar, Ujjair Ahmed and Manzar Imam.
The charge sheet, filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in special court in Delhi on Thursday, is the first against Bhatkal. Yasin and Assadullah have been charged with planning and executing multiple blasts in the country between 2007 and 2012 that claimed 150 lives, including the 2010 Pune German Bakery blast, the 2008 Delhi bomb blast and the 2010 Bangalore blasts.
NIA, in its charge sheet, gives extensive details about hundreds of online chats that Yasin had with IM’s Pakistan-based top leader Riyaz Bhatkal and other India-based operatives like Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, who are wanted by the police for their alleged role in multiple terror cases.
Riyaz told Yasin in one of the chat exchanges that two of his operatives – described as Shafi and Farhan – want to go to Syria to fight alongside jehadis against the Assad regime, says the charge sheet.
Syrian ambassador to India Riad Abbas has repeatedly said Indians are fighting in Syria alongside Islamists forces against the Assad regime but so far no evidence has emerged about his claim.
“We don’t know whether there was any follow-up on sending the two operatives to Syria but it signifies intent on part of Indian jehadis to go global. In chats with Yasin, Riyaz also mentioned his numerous visits to Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan and his contacts with top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Many chats mention that some of their associates – at least two identified as Azamgarh natives - Bada Sajid and Dr Shahnawaz – are fighting in Afghanistan against the US forces,” said a union home ministry official requesting anonymity.
Yasin and another IM operative Assadullah Akhtar were picked up Indian counter-terror officials from Pokhra in Nepal and formally arrested at the Indo-Nepal border on August 29.
“Analysis of voluminous internet-based communication between Yasin and his associates forms the crucial corroborative evidence in the case. At the time of Yasin’s arrest, two laptops were also recovered. We managed to get all chats from the service providers. Besides, Yasin and Akhtar have given statement before magistrate under section 164 of the criminal procedure code, which are also admissible as evidence,” said an NIA official on the condition of anonymity.