Mastermind left city in July, planters in November: Cops | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mastermind left city in July, planters in November: Cops

Yasin Bhatkal, the chief of Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) operations in India, is still holed up in the country, said officials from Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on Monday.

mumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2012 01:36 IST
Presley Thomas

Yasin Bhatkal, the chief of Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) operations in India, is still holed up in the country, said officials from Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on Monday.

The ATS also said that neither Bhatkal, nor his two alleged associates Waqqas and Tabrez, who are said to have planted the bombs at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House, stayed at Habib building in Byculla till December, as some media reports had claimed.

The arrested duo, Naquee Ahmed and Nadeem Sheikh, who allegedly provided logistics for the July 13 triple blasts in the city, have told the ATS that Bhatkal had left in July. “We have information that Bhatkal had left the building soon after the blasts, and did not return thereafter,” said ATS chief and additional director general of police Rakesh Maria.

But Waqqas and Tabrez stayed on till November 26 last year, when they learnt about the arrest of six IM operatives from various parts of the country, added ATS sources.

All four are residents of Bihar and were part of a new module scouted and prepared by Bhatkal and his brother Iqbal, said ATS sources.

Bhatkal, now the operational chief of IM in India, scouts, recruits and trains operatives. He would identify regions in the country where law enforcement agencies are not very active and therefore chose districts in Bihar bordering Nepal and Bangladesh.

Iqbal would cross the border through illegal channels and indoctrinate persons Bhatkal had scouted, the ATS sources added. Bhatkal catapulted to the top after Amir Raza fell from favour of his ISI handlers, and his brother Riyaz became in-charge in 2008.