The Mumbai police on Monday claimed to have foiled a plan to carry out blasts across the city by arresting 15 “key operatives” of the Indian Mujahideen (IM). Security agencies claim IM is responsible for a series of blasts across the country since January 2005.
“October 26 was fixed as the attack date,” said Anti-Terrorism Squad chief, Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare.
On September 24, the Crime Branch had arrested five alleged IM members, including co-founder Mohammad Sadiq Sheikh.
Eighteen of the 20 men arrested so far have no criminal records.
Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor said the latest arrests included techies and mechanical engineers — who allegedly operated IM’s “media wing”, which sent terror e-mails before blasts.
Its leader, Mohammed Peerbhoy (31), is a software professional with a multinational, drawing an annual salary of Rs 19 lakh.
Others arrested included those who collected explosives, assembled bombs and planted them. They were nabbed in operations on September 28, October 4 and October 5, from Pune and Mangalore.
“They would send the e-mails from unprotected wi-fi systems,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria.
Police said it was Peerbhoy who sent the mails prior to the July 26 blasts in Ahmedabad. A group of four, led by him, set out from Pune at 9 am that day, hacking into the mail of American Ken Haywood in Navi Mumbai at 6.40 pm.
A similar method was used to send the terror mails prior to the September 13 blasts in Delhi.
Police claimed these IM members were given Rs 70,000 to undergo a crash course in hacking at an institute in Pune early this year.