Millennium Post
Delhi

‘Three IM terrorists held, strikes in city averted’

Delhi police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Pune serial blasts in August and averted terror strikes in Delhi and Bihar’s Bodhgaya during upcoming festival season with the arrest of three suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists.

The Pune blasts were to avenge the murder of IM operative Qateel Siddique in Yerwada Jail on 8 June and the initial plan was to target Mumbai or the prison but later this was changed due to logistical reasons, police said.

Asad Khan, 33, who is a recruiter, motivator and ideologue of the IM, and Imran Khan, 31, were arrested on 26 September from their hideout in Pul Prehladpur in south Delhi and Syed Firoze, 38, was apprehended from Nizamuddin Railway station five days later, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told a press conference here.

Asad Khan is a computer expert and has done his diploma. They were allegedly directed by top operatives of the outfit Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.

Five kg of explosive materials, 10 detonators and other articles were recovered from them. They had plans to target Delhi during the festival season and a temple in Bodhgaya. ‘With the arrests, we have managed to avert these incidents,’ Kumar said. ‘During the interrogation of Abu Jundal, we came to know about the plans to strike terror in the country,’ he said. Jundal, a key 26/11 handler, was arrested here in June are being deported from Saudi Arabia.


THE COORDINATOR

It came to light during his interrogation that one Fayaz Ahmed Qagzi, a resident of Beed in Maharashtra who is presently based in a West Asian country, was coordinating with Bhatkals.

Qagzi was directing the three arrested also. ‘It was the Bhatkals who asked one Raju Bhai to arrange hideouts for the trio,’ Kumar said.

Police have prepared sketches of Raju Bhai and two others who were allegedly wanted in Pune blasts and are yet to be arrested.


HAWALA HAUL


‘The Indian Mujahideen militants received their finances through hawala transactions. This module had received Rs 3 lakh from their mentors based abroad through hawala operators. Later, on the instructions of Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, they came to Delhi to carry on blasts,’ Kumar said. Asad and Imran told police that they came to Delhi from Roorkie on the directions of Bhatkals and Qagzi, who had allegedly instructed Raju Bhai to arrange shelter for the arrested trio.

‘Raju arranged house for them at Pul Prehladpur. The arrested trio do not know much about Raju Bhai. Only Bhatkals knew about Raju Bhai. Asad and Imran met him at Nehru Place. Raju Bhai speaks in Urdu-Hindi in North Indian accent,’ Kumar said.

The duo also told police that they carried out the Pune blasts and other members of the module from Maharashtra would join them in Delhi following which Firoz was apprehended.

‘Asad was the recruiter, motivator and ideologue of IM. He met Imran and indoctrinated him,’ Kumar said. It was in August 2009 that Asad came in touch with Qagzi, an alleged LeT operative based in Saudi Arabia, through telephone and email.


SAUDI CONTACT


The arrested trio had also gone to Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions and had met Qagzi where they allegedly discussed carrying out terror strikes in India.

In January this year, Qagzi introduced Asad to Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, who ‘wanted to avenge’ the murder of Siddique.

‘Initially the plan was to bomb Yerwada Jail or Pune court premises. However, because of security, they changed the plans.’

Later the trio were asked to murder the family of Sharad Mohol and Ashok Bhalerao, who allegedly murdered Siddique. ‘Since they were unable to identify the relatives, this plan was also given up. Then the Bhatkal brothers then finally decided to carry out in Mumbai or Pune,’ Kumar said.


BLAST PLAN


‘In early July, they met in Asad’s tour and travel office in Aurangabad and later a base was set up in Pune,’ Kumar said. In mid-July, Firoz allegedly booked a flat in Kasarwadi in Pune and a few days later, two other Indian Mujahideen operatives, who are yet to be arrested, joined them.

‘The two unidentified men had brought explosives. Firoz accompanied them to the electronic market in Budhwarpeeth in Pune from where they bought circuit boards, digital watches and other items. They went to Mumbai and recceed certain areas but the Bhatkal brothers later changed their plans to Pune,’ Kumar said.

On 1 August, they went to Phadke Howd in Pune for buying three bicycles. The bicycles were driven to the Deccan bus stand and then left parked in the cycle stand there and in the evening, they left the rented accommodation carrying ruck-sacks containing IEDs. On reaching the bus stand, they allegedly took out the parked bicycles and placed the IEDs and planted them along the Junglee Maharaj Road.

Some more IEDs were also planted in the same area. After the IEDs were planted, they dispersed.


SLEEPER CELLS STILL ACTIVE


Recently, Millennium Post had revealed that about half-a-dozen sleeper cells were active in Delhi and NCR. On Thursday, Neeraj Kumar, Commissioner of Police [Delhi] confirmed the information.

Not only this, Kumar also confirmed that the reason behind Qateel Siddique’s murder was that earlier he had attempted to plant a bomb outside a temple in Pune. Millennium Post was the first one to expose the reason behind his murder. In the jail he was again planning to attack a temple. He shared this information with two other prisoners namely, Sharad Mohal and Ashok Bhalerao. When they got to know about the plan, they decided to kill him. Therefore, they strangulated him to death in Yerawada Central jail in Pune.

Qateel Ahmad Siddique, 27, was an active member of the Indian Mujahideen, who was charged with the Jama Masjid attack in Delhi, the German Bakery blast in Pune, the Chinnaswammi Stadium blast in Bangalore and for making an attempt to plant a bomb outside the Dagdusheth Ganapati temple in Pune.


EYE FOR AN EYE


In January, Qagzi introduced Asad to Bhatkal brothers, who wanted revenge for the death of Qateel Siddique, a militant of IM killed on 8 June in Yerwada jail in Maharashtra. Initially, the plan was to plant a bomb in Yerwada jail or in the premises of the Pune court. But because of the high security at both the places, the plan was cancelled, the police chief said. 'Later, they were asked to kill the family members of Sharad Mohol and Ashok Bhalerao, the jail inmates who killed Siddique. This plan was also given up due to problems in identifying the family members of Mohol and Bhalerao,’ said Neeraj Kumar. Finally, the Bhatkal brothers decided to use the operatives to carry out blasts either at Pune or in Mumbai. 'In the second fortnight of July, Feroz took a flat in Pune and was joined by two other IM operatives, whose names can not be revealed due to investigation purpose. They went to Mumbai and recced places to plant explosives, but the Bhatkal brothers changed their plan and told them to strike in Pune,' said Neeraj Kumar.
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