The anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday arrested Mohammed Arif, a native of Azamgarh, for alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.
According to senior Delhi Police sources, Arif had come to Delhi after the July 26 serial blasts in Ahmedabad. He stayed at L-18, Batla House with Atif and the others who were involved in the Delhi blasts, they say. However, he was not there when the police team raided the house on September 19.
UP Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh said Arif was the one who “physically planted bombs in the court premises before the November 2007 blast in Lucknow and one of the blasts in Ahmedabad in July this year.” According to Singh, Arif had confessed to his and the Indian Mujahideen’s involvement in both these blasts. He was arrested from Lucknow’s Charbagh railway station on Monday.
The UP police say Charbagh station was where the group that planted a bomb in Lucknow met on November 23, 2007. Apart from Arif, there were two others, a man only known as Sajjad, and another named Khalid Mujaheed. The trio went to the city’s Tile Wali Masjid where they were joined by another Azamgarh native known to the police as Aariz.
DGP Singh said Arif had told the police: “We loaded the bags with school notebooks with explosives underneath. Then we reached court premises after passing through Neembu Park. We had tea while Aariz bought a bicycle from La Touche road. I slung a bag on the bicycle and parked the bicycle in the court premises. Then Aariz went and returned with another bicycle. We parked this one in the cycle-stand outside court premises.”
There were no casualties in the explosion, which was accompanied almost simultaneously by deadlier blasts in Varanasi and Faizabad. The ATS had already arrested Mujaheed for his role in these in December 2007.
Arif’s sister Samsa Nasim said it was his childhood friendship with Atif Amin and Md Sajid, who were shot dead by Delhi Police in the encounter at Batla House, that had got him into trouble. She said Arif’s relationship with Atif and Sajid was based on a shared love of cricket.
“He only wanted to become a doctor and nothing else,” she said of her brother who was preparing for the Combined Pre-Medical Test in Lucknow for the past three years.
“We talked to him on the phone on September 15 and requested him to come home for Eid to the village, but Arif said for becoming a doctor he would have to make some sacrifices,” she said.
Last week, a joint team of Delhi and UP police had raided Arif’s house in Sanjarpur, near Azamgarh.