The Anti Terrorism Squad team that arrested Wazahul Khan (44), the absconding 2003 Mulund train blast accused, on Monday, was heavily armed when it went into the operation.
ATS sources said a team of about 15 men from their Thane unit, which is headed by Inspector Rajan Ghule, had expected Khan to resist arrest, which is why they went fully armed. Information about Khan’s whereabouts came to Inspector Jitendra Agarkar and the team reached Kurla early in the morning and waited for Khan.
The police said Khan came to Kasaiwada and was overpowered before he could react. Khan, a wanted accused in the March 13, 2003, train blasts, had evaded arrest for over seven years by constantly living at a different location. He came to Mumbai in 2006, and set up an embroidery unit in Dharavi, but never lived in one place for long.
Khan was also wanted in the December 6, 2002, Mumbai Central blast and the January 27, 2003, Vile Parle blast.
The 2003 blast on the Karjat-bound train left 12 dead and over 60 injured.
A 7.65 mm pistol and three cartridges were recovered from him. Police said he is a very important catch as he was in touch with both Mulund blast prime accused, Saquib Nachan and Iqbal Bhatkal, brother of Riyaz Bhatkal. The Bhatkal brothers founded Indian Mujahideen, which is said to be behind a spate of bombing in 2007-2008.
Khan, who is said to have got about Rs 3.5 lakh during 2002 to carry out the terror acts, was a bomb maker who learnt from dreaded terrorist Taheer Ansari. “The bombs were made at the clinic of a Unani doctor and Ansari was present,” Rakesh Maria said yesterday.
Khan, who has three daughters and two sons, is the 17th arrest in the Mulund blast case, 16 people have been charge sheeted so far. Khan has been remanded to police custody until May 20. The crime branch is pursuing his custody as priority. “We will definitely ask for his custody as the case had been investigated by the Crime Branch,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Himanshu Roy.