Investigations into last year’s July 13 triple blasts by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) have revealed that there were two modules of terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) operating out of Bihar.
A senior ATS officer said that the modules were not aware of each other’s existence. “The only link between them was Yasin Bhatkal, the top IM operative who played a key role in the 13/7 blasts,” the officer said, and added that the operatives functioned from Madhubani and Darbhanga in Bhiar. Near-simultaneous bomb blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar had killed 27 persons.
The officer said that while one module was detected by the Delhi police and several of its members have been arrested, one among them, Quateel Siddique, is suspected to be involved in the Pune’s German bakery blast in February 2010, which killed 17 people.
The second module, which includes Naquee Ahmed and Nadeem Sheikh, both arrested in the 13/7 case, along with Waqqas and Tabrez — the alleged planters who are absconding — were part of the second module.
“There are several operatives of the second module living near Darbhanga who are under the ATS scanner,” the officer said.
The officer added an ATS team is camped in Darbhanga, waiting for the right moment to make more arrests. “From the interrogation of the accused, we have come to the conclusion that Bhatkal had managed to make a large number of recruitments in Bihar, and both the modules had a lot of members,” the officer said.
What the ATS found is that Bhatkal gave information to the IM operatives only on need-to-know basis, which ensured that very little information is leaked even if they are arrested.
Bhatkal started visiting Bihar around 2008, and slowly started indoctrinating and recruiting people, the officer said.
“It was only after the arrests made by the Delhi police in December last year, and information gathered during the ATS’ investigations in the 13/7 case, that the Darbhanga modules were busted, nearly three years after their inception,” the officer said.
Yasin usually never leaves a trail, but in Darbhanga, he married the daughter of one of the accused.