Patna blasts prime suspect, Tahseen Akhtar, slipped out of police net

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 29, 2013 16:01 IST
  • An injured woman laying on the ground after six serial bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    An injured woman laying on the ground after six serial bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • Smoke rises after a blast at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Smoke rises after a blast at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • Police and locals carry the body of a vicitim after six serial bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Police and locals carry the body of a vicitim after six serial bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • BJP president Rajnath Singh with Gujarat chief minister and BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    BJP president Rajnath Singh with Gujarat chief minister and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi and party leaders Shatrughan Sinha and Sushil Kumar Modi at the Hunkar rally...

  • BJP president Rajnath Singh with Gujarat chief minister and BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    BJP president Rajnath Singh with Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • Gujarat chief minister and BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Gujarat chief minister and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh, senior leader Arun Jaitley along with other state party leaders at the Hunkar...

  • Gujarat chief minister and BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • Gujarat chief minister and BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi being welcomed by party leader and actor Shatrughan Sinha at the Hunkar rally in Patna. (PTI...

  • An injured man in the hospital after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    An injured man in the hospital after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (HT Photo/Abhisek Kumar)

  • An injured man laying on the ground after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    An injured man laying on the ground after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)

  • An injured woman is carried away from the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    An injured woman is carried away from the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna after a series of bomb blasts rocked the venue. (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)

  • Smoke rises after serial bomb blasts hit the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Smoke rises after serial bomb blasts hit the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)

  • Locals carry the body of a vicitim after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Locals carry the body of a vicitim after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (HT Photo/Arun Abhi)

  • Injured people in the hospital after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Injured people in the hospital after a series of bomb blasts took place at the venue of Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna. (HT Photo/Arun Abhi)

  • Injured people being admitted to a hospital after the blasts during BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Injured people being admitted to a hospital after the blasts during BJP's rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

  • Police and bomb disposal squad defuse a bomb that was recovered after the blasts in and around the venue of BJP

    Blasts hit Modi's Patna rally

    Police and bomb disposal squad defuse a bomb that was recovered after the blasts in and around the venue of BJP's rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)

Mohammed Tahseen Akhtar, the prime suspect in the Patna serial blasts, would have been in police custody had the report of the arrest of Indian Mujahideen mastermind Yasin Bhatkal not leaked to the media.

Akhtar, also known as Monu, is believed to be a committed 23-year-old terrorist, having worked closely with Bhatkal and dislikes the control Pakistan’s spy agency ISI wields on the terror outfit.

Investigators missed him by a few hours when Akhtar and his Pakistani associate Waqas slipped out of a flat in Zephyr Heights Apartments in Mangalore, Karnataka as soon as Bhatkal’s arrest flashed across news channels.

“Just a few days before the Patna blasts he was in Ranchi. Earlier, he was sighted in Pushkar, Rajasthan. It is believed he worked as tourist guide at historical sites and conducted a thorough reconnaissance of the place. He is also tech-savvy,” a senior intelligence official told HT, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

In fact, it is Bhatkal who told his interrogators that Akhtar had emerged as the “operational head” of the IM. He is believed to be directly in touch with the Karachi-based IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal.

Indian intelligence officials also believe that Akhtar was upset with the ISI and advocated a closer link to al Qaeda. Originally a resident of Maniarpur village in Samastipur district of Bihar, he has been identified by suspect Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari in the Patna blasts case.

Akhtar was recruited by Bhatkal who was creating the Darbhanga module of the IM after the Delhi Police cracked the Azamgarh module.

On August 29, when the news of Bhatkal’s arrest broke, “Akhtar and Waqas were using the Mangalore flat since the twin blasts in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad. If Bhatkal’s arrest was not leaked to the media, Akhtar and Waqas would have been in custody,” the official said.

The NIA has promised a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information leading to him. “NIA teams are in Patna and Ranchi. I am also going to Patna on Tuesday to join my team,” director general Sharad Kumar told HT.

READ: Live bomb recovered from Gandhi Maidan, defused

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