The Jodhpur police and the Anti-Terrorism Squad on Tuesday arrested three more Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, including Barkat Ali, who reportedly divulged plans to strike Chandni Chowk and Palika Bazar in Delhi.
The other two have been identified as Javed, 30, and Iqbal, 32 . Javed is a construction labourer while Iqbal vends goggles in Jodhpur. The duo provided logistic support to other operatives.
Jodhpur deputy commissioner of police (West) Hinglaj Dan said, "Barkat has divulged that they conducted recce of Chandi Chowk and Palika Bazaar in Delhi and Agra city this year. Barkat was in touch with Riyaz Bhatkal (IM founder) online and the operatives were waiting for further instructions."
Riyaz is one of the IM's three top commanders and is reportedly based in Karachi in Pakistan. Riyaz was born in Karnataka, studied engineering, became an activist of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and later became IM's top commander.
A team of Delhi and Jodhpur police had nabbed IM bomb expert Zia-ur-Rehman from Ajmer Railway Station on Saturday and four of his associates on Sunday during follow-up raids. However, Ali had managed to flee after learning about the raids.
Ali, an alleged aide of IM terrorist Mohammed Shaquib Ansari, was arrested on Tuesday morning from his Shanti Priya Nagar residence when he went there to collect clothes and valuables.
The police also detained around a dozen members of alleged IM sleeper cells and SIMI.
The police were pelted with stones at Chhoti Eidgah duringtheir search operation. One police official is reported to have sustained head injury in the attack. The police had to use a mild lathicharge to disperse the mob.
"We got information about arrival of Barkat at home this morning following which the police cordoned off the area and arrested him," said Sachin Mittal, Police Commissioner of Jodhpur.
He said during initial questioning Barkat provided some operational details of the IM, but this could not be shared with media.
Meanwhile, it was learnt those arrested on Sunday have told investigators the IM leaders targeted Rajasthan for raising sleeper cells after sensing unrest among youth of the minority community.
The IM apparently wanted to tap into anger among the Muslim youth triggered by burning of police inspector Phool Mohammad at Sawai Madhopur in March 2011 and Bharatpur incident in September 2011, in which 10 Muslims were killed in police firing, said an investigator seeking anonymity.
The police were accused of siding with Jats during the Bharatpur clash.
Indian Mujahideen's de-facto head in India, Mohammad Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, who was also arrested today, had visited Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Nagaur to recruit local sympathisers.