File photo of Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal. (HT Photo)
Syed Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa, or more infamously Yasin Bhatkal, the Indian Mujahideen operational commander and arguably India’s most wanted man, is believed to have planted the second bomb in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar area on Thursday.
He could also still be in the Andhra capital or in Cyberabad city, investigators said.
“The imprint of the Indian Mujahideen is quite clear in the twin blasts and we are looking for Yasin,” said a senior police officer, who has been at the centre of major blast investigations across the country, on Sunday.
According to police sources, Yasin may have planted the bomb behind the bus stop near Venkatdri theatre. The twin bombing killed 16 people.
This isn’t the first time Yasin has personally overseen an operation and done the legwork himself. He was caught on CCTV planting the bomb at Germany Bakery in Pune in 2010.
The officer also said the blast case could be solved “within three to four weeks”.
The focus turned to the engineer-turned-terrorist after investigators became suspicious of three of his accomplices — Tehsin Akhtar Wasim Akhtar Sheikh alias Monu alias Hasan, 23, a resident of Samastipur in Bihar; Assadullah Akhtar Javed Akhtar alias Tabrez Saquib alias Danial, 26, from Azamgarh in UP; and Waqas alias Ahmed.
Relatively unknown till 2008, Yasin has since been associated with almost every terror strike in the country — in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
While Riyaz and Iqbal, IM co-founders, are believed to have fled to Pakistan after the Mumbai crime branch arrested 21 of the home-grown terror outfit’s operatives that year, Yasin started running operations in India.
A terror scout, his success in indoctrinating youngsters from Darbhanga in Bihar led to the formation of the Darbhanga module.
National Investigation Agency sleuths have followed the Hyderabad blast trail all the way to the Bihar district.
Law enforcement officers has found Yasin to be a slippery customer.
Yasin was caught with counterfeit currency in West Bengal in 2010 but identified himself as Shahrukh and jumped bail. Then again in November 2011, he missed getting caught in Chennai.
Though agencies believe Yasin is in India, sources said there are reports he has visited Nepal and Bangladesh - one reason why a red-corner notice has been issued.
While the IM remains the key suspect, the police believe it had logistic support. "We are investigating radical groups in Hyderabad because it is just not possible for the perpetrators to execute the blasts without proper logistic support. The role of a political organisation is also being probed," the sources said.
The radicals groups under suspicion include Muslim Revenge Force, Tehreek Galba-e-Islam and Darsgah Jihad-O-Shahdat.