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Police interrogating Qureshi to identify eight people he met in UP after returning to India

Qureshi was apprehended around 8.30pm on Saturday after a brief gunfight near the Paper Market in east Delhi’s Ghazipur locality

delhi Updated: Jan 23, 2018 23:05 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,Abdul Subhan Qureshi
Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer was arrested by Delhi police in New Delhi on January 22.(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Abdul Subhan Qureshi, alias Tauqeer, the arrested alleged co-founder of terror group Indian Mujahideen (IM), met eight people in Uttar Pradesh after returning to India from Nepal about four months ago in a bid to revive IM’s weak and scattered network, Delhi Police said on Tuesday.

Of the eight people as many as five were old sympathisers of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned Islamist organisation considered to be the IM’s forerunner, police said.

Special cell sleuths said they were interrogating Qureshi to establish the identity of the eight people and the role he had assigned to them. Qureshi allegedly received over Rs 7 lakh from various hawala operators on the instructions of his handler, Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the founder members of IM who is suspected to be based in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, they said.

“The funds were made available to Qureshi for indoctrinating unemployed Muslim youths to fill the void created by the fall of top IM leaders and revive the terror organisation,” said a special cell officer who is part of the interrogating team.

Qureshi was apprehended around 8.30pm on Saturday after a brief gunfight near the Paper Market in east Delhi’s Ghazipur locality, deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah told reporters on Monday. One of India’s most wanted criminals, Qureshi was the suspected mastermind behind the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts.

Police agencies are interrogating Qureshi to ascertain his alleged role in a plan to carry out a terror strike in Goa in 2008, which was averted with the arrest of Ziyauddin Nasir and Asadullah Abubakar from Karnataka in January 2008.

Six stolen vehicles, fake number plates, maps of Goa, a pen drive, CDs containing religious literature and other incriminating documents were seized from them. The two allegedly had planned to plant bombs in the stolen vehicles and park them at different crowded locations in Goa frequented by foreign tourists, said police.

During the probe, it was revealed that Nasir, who allegedly had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba, was in touch with Qureshi and Safdar Nagori, the then head of SIMI. Also, Abubakar, who was asociated with Nagori, was Qureshi’s roommate in Hubli, Karnataka.

Qureshi fled to Nepal via Bihar in 2008, soon after his name surfaced in connection with the Ahmedabad serial bombings, police said. During his stay in Nepal till early 2015, Qureshi worked as a school teacher and managed to procure a voter ID card and passport of Nepal in the name of Abdul Rehman, the investigators added.

In 2015, Kushwah said that Qureshi went to Saudi Arabia on Bhatkal’s instructions to arrange money needed for the revival of the IM. “After returning to Nepal from Saudi Arabia in June 2017, Qureshi began visiting India clandestinely to indoctrinate unemployed youth and revive IM’s network,” said Kushwah.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 23:05 IST