Saudi Arabia is understood to have detained a key explosives supplier of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror group and an absconding accused in the 2003 Haren Pandya murder case in a move that strengthens bilateral counter-terror cooperation between the two countries.
Home ministry sources said IM terrorist Zainul Abideen, a resident of Bhatkal, was detained by Saudi security agencies last month at the request of their Indian counterparts on the basis of supplied passport details. The verification process is on with Riyadh signalling it will not allow any anti-Indian activity on its soil.
Abideen is accused of supplying explosives to terror group founder Riyaz Bhatkal, who used them in the February 21, 2013 Hyderabad serial blasts and July 13, 2011 Mumbai serial blasts.
On January 9, 2015, Bengaluru police arrested three IM terrorists, including Syed Ismail Afaque, 36, for a December 28, 2014 blast in the city.
During interrogation, he named Abideen as one of the key accomplices. Abideen fled to Saudi Arabia after the serial blasts in 2013 and was working in a tech company.
Authoritative sources said Saudi Arabian agencies are also verifying the antecedents of another Indian national, who has been under watch since January 2015. The accused is said to be Mufti Sufiyan, who had first fled to Karachi, Pakistan, after the murder of then Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya on March 26, 2003. He is said to have moved to Saudi Arabia.
Sufiyan, 48, was a close associate of Karachi-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) fake Indian currency dealer Rasool Khan alias Party and had links with now killed Shahid Bilal and Abdul Samad of LeT. Sufiyan’s main role has been radicalising Indian Muslim youth and was accused in the May 29, 2002 blasts in Ahmedabad.
Home ministry sources said Indian agencies are in touch with their Saudi counterparts to ensure the two terrorists are tried for their crimes in Indian courts.