The five alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror suspects arrested in Mumbai were planning serial blasts in the financial capital and had surveyed locations and brought explosives into the city, a senior police official said on Thursday.
"Mumbai was a definite target and the explosives had been brought in Mumbai for the same. They were planning to carry out serial blasts here," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.
"Some members of the group had surveyed crowded spots and obtained the explosives in July, he said. "It was not known when they were planning to carry out the blasts."
The suspects, nabbed from the metropolis on Wednesday, have been accused of having carried out multiple explosions in the country since 2005, including the recent Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bangalore serial blasts.
The explosives for these blasts were obtained from Karnataka where wanted accused Roshan Khan alias Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the founding members of IM who allegedly created a stockpile there, police said.
Police on Wednesday said they had recovered 10 kg of ammonium nitrate and gelatin from the Trombay residence of arrested Mohammed Saddik Shaikh, who is also allegedly one of the founding members of the IM.
Police reportedly also picked up Saddik's younger brother from their residence in Trombay on Thursday.
"We had called him for inquiry since we had some doubts but we have released him," Maria said, adding no arrests had been made on Thursday.
Meanwhile, police denied that they had picked up the brother of another arrested Mohammed Zakir Shaikh for questioning.
"Another suspect Mohammed Arif Shaikh, who is alleged to have made bomb circuits for the blasts, had come to the city about three to four months back and had been living in the residence of a doctor in Mumbra near Mumbai," Maria said.
"The doctor's statement was recorded by us today," he said.
The funds for operations to be carried out by the Indian Mujahideen came through hawala channels to Saddik, who was working in a electronic firm in the city, police said.
Police are also investigating if Zakir had planted the unexploded bombs in Surat, Maria said.
Arrested Afzal Mutalib Usmani not only helped steal the cars used in Ahmedabad and Surat but also planted the car bombs at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and a market place, he said.
Nearly two dozen blasts had rocked Ahmedabad on July 26, killing 55 persons.
"On July 24, Afzal went to Ahmedabad and the next day stayed in a bungalow with other accused Atif and Qayumuddin where he watched how they make the bombs," Maria said.
After the blasts, Afzal is suspected to have gone to Delhi by train from where he travelled to other locations after which he returned to Azamgarh, his hometown in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
"The contract for stealing the cars used in the blasts was given to Afzal by Bhatkal," Maria said.
"Police are on the lookout for two car thieves who helped Afzal steal the vehicles," he said.
The five accused - Afzal Mutalib Usmani, Mohammad Saddik Shaikh, Mohammad Arif Shaikh, Mohammed Zakir Shaikh and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh - will be in police custody till October 7.
The relatives of Saddik visited the Unit III of the crime branch in Mumbai.
"We are shocked at what has happened as a huge accusation has been made against us. None of our family members is involved in any criminal activities," Israr Ahmed, Saddik's father, said.
Saddik's elder brother Mohammed Asad Shaikh said he was shocked by his brother's arrest.