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I had planted the bomb in Sarojini Nagar market, confesses IM operative Ariz Khan

The revelation by alleged Indian Mujahideen operative raises fresh doubts on the investigation carried out by Delhi police, which has said a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) squad was behind the explosions.

delhi Updated: May 19, 2018 08:26 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sarojini Nagar Blast,Indian Mujahideen,Lashkar-e-Taiba
Charred remains of the vehicles damaged in the 2005 blast at New Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar. Investigators say Ariz Khan confessed to planting the bomb at the market.(S Burmaula/ HT File)

Alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Ariz Khan, alias Junaid, has told federal counter-terror investigators that his outfit was behind the 2005 serial blasts in Delhi on the eve of Diwali and it was he who planted an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Sarojini Nagar market, according to a government official familiar with the development.

The revelation raises fresh doubts on the investigation carried out by the city police, which has said a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) squad was behind the explosions.

On October 29, 2005, at 5.35pm, the first of the Delhi serial blasts at Tooti Chowk in Paharganj killed 17 people and injured 108 others. The second blast took place 25 minutes later in the busy Sarojini Nagar market in which 50 people died and 104 were injured. The third blast took place at Okhla, injuring 13.

“Junaid has told National Investigation Agency (NIA) interrogators that he, along with another alleged IM operative Mirza Shadab Beg, had kept the IED at Sarojini Nagar market while Atif Ameen, who was killed in the Batla House encounter in September 2008, had kept an IED in Paharganj. A third IED, in a DTC bus, was kept by two other alleged IM operatives — Mohammad Shakeel and Saquib Nisar,” said a home ministry official on condition of anonymity.

The official added that Junaid further told interrogators that the IEDs were prepared by another alleged IM member, Sadiq Israr Sheikh, at a rented flat in south Delhi’s Jasola and has given a detailed account of how he kept the IED at Sarojini Nagar market along with Shadab Beg. Junaid’s lawyer, however, denied the involvement of his client in any blast.

“There is no Indian Mujahideen and my client was not at involved with any outfit by the name of Indian Mujahideen or in any blast,” said advocate MS Khan. Junaid,32, was arrested by Delhi Police in February this year from the Indo-Nepal border after being on the run for nearly a decade.

In April, NIA interrogated him. The Delhi Police had in 2006 filed formal charges against five Jammu and Kashmir residents, Tariq Dar, Mohd Hussain Fazli, Rafiq Shah, Farooq Ahmed Batloo and Ghulam Ahmed Khan, after its investigation, and claimed they were members of the LeT. Six other alleged LeT members -- Abu Huzefa, Abu al Qama, Abu Zaid, Rashid, Mansoor and Sajjad Salafi – were also accused for their involvement .

First Published: May 19, 2018 08:24 IST