In another major blow to the Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror network, the Delhi Police special cell arrested its boss Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu near the India-Nepal border in Darjeeling on Tuesday.
Within hours of the arrest, the Delhi Police said the homegrown IM outfit had transformed into a global Islamist organization with ‘substantial representation’ in Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan region.
Akhtar’s arrest comes just days after IM bomb-maker Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas was nabbed in Rajasthan along with three associates.
Read: Arrest of operatives a big blow, but it is not end of road for IM
During his interrogation, Waqas allegedly told the police that 25 to 30 men recruited by the IM from Uttar Pradesh had joined the Taliban and were part of a Jihad along the Af-Pak border and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Police said that on interrogation Akhtar had corroborated Waqas’ claims.
“The men in question belong to the IM’s Azamgarh module — the first and the deadliest of the outfit’s executive divisions,” a senior police officer told HT.
“Waqas said he met several of these men during a training session in constructing incendiary devices at a camp organised by al-Qaeda prior to being brought into India,” another officer said.
The first official terror attack allegedly executed by the Azamgarh module was six serial blasts at three city courts in Uttar Pradesh on November 23, 2007. Less than a year later, they carried out serial blasts in Delhi on September 13, 2008. Shortly after this, its operational commander Mohammad Atif was killed in the infamous Batla House encounter on September 19.
“These men are understood to have crossed into Afghan border after slipping into Kathmandu on foot then travelling down to Pakistan to attend training camps before being launched as mujahids or holy warriors,” an intelligence official said.
“They belong to impoverished backgrounds and the Students Islamic Movement of India had played a major role in scouting for, and subsequently recruiting, them,” he added.
Akhtar is being questioned by the special cell of the Delhi Police and central intelligence agencies.