Ambani security scare: Terrorist Tehseen Akhtar to be questioned in Tihar today

On Saturday, police questioned Akhtar, a former chief of the banned terror group, for nearly seven hours. Delhi Police officers, who did not wish to be named, said Akhtar was evasive and tried to mislead them during the questioning
Inside jail number 8 of the high security ward of Tihar, Akhtar shares space with at least four others booked in terror cases. (HT archive)
Inside jail number 8 of the high security ward of Tihar, Akhtar shares space with at least four others booked in terror cases. (HT archive)
Updated on Mar 15, 2021 11:52 AM IST
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A team of officers from the Delhi police’s special cell will visit Tihar jail on Monday and question Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Tehseen Akhtar on his role in the case of the explosives-laden vehicle outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house, Antilia, in Mumbai on February 25.

On Saturday, police questioned Akhtar, a former chief of the banned terror group, for nearly seven hours. Delhi Police officers, who did not wish to be named, said Akhtar was evasive and tried to mislead them during the questioning.

Last week, while probing the case of an explosive-laden car found outside Ambani’s, central intelligences had discovered a chat on phone application Telegram, through which a terror group that called themselves Jaish-ul-Hind had claimed responsibility for the incident. The Telegram group was found to have been created inside Tihar jail, after which Delhi Police were informed. They, in turn, informed the prison department. On Thursday, the Tihar prison authorities conducted a raid inside jail 8 and seized two phones from Akhtar. Akhtar was convicted in the 2013 Hyderabad blasts case and has also been named in the 2011 Mumbai blasts, and 2010 Varanasi blasts, among other cases.

Also Read | Tihar has no jammers that can block 4G signals

A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “ We are looking at the role of other inmates too. Akhtar was a top leader of the IM when he was arrested from Darjeeling, West Bengal, in March 2014. Inside jail number 8 of the high security ward, he shares space with at least four others booked in terror cases. Two are of the same IM group, while the other two are from the Indian module of the Al Qaeda. It is possible that others too were using the cell phone.”

Later in the day on Monday, Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal is scheduled to hold a meeting with Tihar prison’s director general, Sandeep Goel, and Delhi home secretary Bhupinder Bhalla over the issue of jammers and prisoners using cell phone inside the jail. Delhi police commissioner SN Shrivastava is also likely to be in the meeting. The Delhi government has already ordered an inquiry to probe how a prisoner accused of terror activities managed to get himself two cell phones in prison.

On Monday, as part of the investigation, Delhi Police will question Akhtar on the genesis of the little-known group Jaish-ul-Hind. The group had claimed responsibility for the January 29 low-intensity blast outside the Israel embassy in Delhi.

Police suspect that Jaish-ul- Hind is a new group started by absconding IM leaders. While many key members of the group, such as Akhtar(he was the head of the Ranchi module ) or IM’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, have been convicted and are currently behind bars, other top operatives such as Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Amir Raza Khan and Mohsin Chaudhary are absconding and are suspected to be in Pakistan.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021