Banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen had managed to raise sleeper cells and enlist local sympathisers to carry out terror-related activities from Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Chilling facts have come to light after the Rajasthan Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested four suspected operatives of IM from Jaipur and Jodhpur on Sunday. The operatives visited some areas of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Nagaur districts last year and contacted local youth, the ATS has learnt.
Input about the IM’s efforts was shared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) with the Rajasthan ATS after arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, one of the founders of IM who was arrested in August last year in connection with several terror activities.
However, neither the NIA nor Rajasthan ATS had any clue about the local sleeper cells and links that Waqas, arrested from Ajmer on Saturday morning, and Mohammad Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, wanted by NIA, had developed. According to sources in ATS, Akhtar, in his mid 20s, is suspected to have enlisted local sympathizers and recruited a few local youth including Saqib Ansari, 27, and Mohammed Adil, 23, and Barkat, 25, of Jodhpur and supplied them explosives.
Akhtar, a native of Samastipur district in Bihar, had visited Jaipur and Jodhpur in June last year and procured SIM cards from Nagaur on fake documents. In a story dated March 9, HT had reported that the IM had made efforts to set a local module in Jodhpur. The intelligence network of the ATS has, however, come under a cloud because of the fact that the arrested operatives had managed to sneak in heavy explosives. They were likely to make bombs to carry out terror attacks during the Lok Sabha elections.
“We were tracking the local links but specific clues were lacking. It is after the arrest of Waqas that input about local sympathisers came following which ATS team and Delhi police conducted joint raids,” said additional director general of police (ATS) Alok Tripathi.
“The nature of seized explosives suggests operatives had the capability to perpetrate terror attack within two to three days. It seems they were lying low after the arrest of Bhatkal and were waiting for further directions,” said source.