The state's anti-terrorism squad is not the only law enforcement agency which was unable to catch Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged co-founder of terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).
In November 2011, the country's law enforcement agencies began a joint operation to arrest alleged IM operatives. The operation, which began on November 22 with the arrest of Mohammed Qateel Siddique, 27, in Delhi, was to end with Yasin's arrest.
Even though the agencies arrested six operatives, Yasin escaped with another alleged IM operative Imran, said police sources. During interrogation, the six operatives revealed that Yasin had been living in Delhi for around six months. They even led the agencies to a safe house Yasin operated from.
But this is not the only instance when agencies missed a chance to catch alleged IM operatives. Others who allegedly escaped include Riyaz Bhatkal, his brother Iqbal Bhatkal, and Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer.
Sources said Riyaz and Iqbal, alleged co-founders of IM, escaped from their house in Bhatkal, Karnataka after a local police sub-inspector made a mistake and deputed an assistant sub-inspector known to Riyaz to check if the brothers were in the house. "When the policemen went to the house, Riyaz walked out to see him. Minutes after the policeman left, the brothers boarded a bus and escaped," said a senior IPS officer from Karnataka, requesting anonymity.
Bala Krishnan, the current superintendent of police of Uttara Kannada said, "We have had information of their presence in Bhatkal before. But nothing concrete has materialised."