The Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative arrested by the UP's anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on Monday from Azamgarh has revealed that they had plans to blow up India's premier institutes like IITs and raise IM's youth brigade.
To ensure maximum damage, the plan was to time the strikes around the time when students visit the technical colleges for counseling, when the branch in which a student wishes to specialize in is allotted to them. Shahzad, (21), now in ATS custody, is wanted for serial blasts in Delhi's Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash, Tilak Marg and Connaught Place as well as the controversial Batla House encounter that took place on September 19, 2008.
Two IM operatives and a decorated Delhi police officer were killed in the encounter.
A Delhi police team has air dashed to Lucknow to interrogate one of their most wanted accused. The Delhi police had declared a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his arrest.
A resident of Khalispur village under Bilariaganj police station he was living at Rahmani Manzil, Qureshia school campus of Azamgarh, UP.
UP ATS chief Brijlal said Shahzad revealed that they he was tipped to head the IM's youth brigade and had plans to carry out strikes in Indore and had planted bombs at the India Gate too.
The recruitment for the youth brigade had already begun and Shahzad allegedly confessed before the ATS officials that he had started sending youths through sea route overseas for training.
Shahzad said Atif Amin, the IM operative killed in the Batla House encounter was the king pin who had assigned him the task of raising fully trained youth outfit capable of carrying out strikes all over the country.
Barring a 10-second photo opportunity that the ATS allowed camerapersons, the media was not allowed to interact with the alleged terrorist.
Shahzad, police said, was living in Azamgarh for the last couple of months and was arrested from his residence. A senior officer involved in the investigation said there were possibilities that Shahzad along with Ariz Khan alias Junaid, who is also wanted in the Batla House encounter and carries a Rs 5 lakh award, may have opened fire on encounter specialist Delhi police inspector MC Sharma.
Shahzad was produced in the court on Tuesday. The Delhi police is expected to apply for the transit remand to take the accused to Delhi for further interrogation. Police said efforts were being made to probe his Iraq-connection among other things.