‘Waqas instrumental in aborting Indian Mujahideen’s plan to target IPL match’

Arrested top Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Zia Ur Rehman alias Waqas, a Pakistani national and close aide of outfit’s jailed commander Yasin Bhatkal, was instrumental in aborting the terror outfit’s plan to target an IPL match at the Wankhede stadium here in 2011, ATS sources said.

Three powerful blasts, engineered by IM, had ripped through crowded areas in Central Mumbai on July 13, 2011, killing 21 people and injuring 141.

The first explosion had rocked Zaveri Bazar, a popular jewellery market, at 6.50 PM. A minute later, another blast shook the busy business area Opera House. The third blast ripped through the crowded Dadar (West) area in Central Mumbai at 7.04 PM.

Rehman, who along with three others were arrested from Rajasthan by Delhi Police, and his arrested associate Asadullah Akhtar had planted bombs at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera house, they said. The IM had also planned to target Indian Premier League match in 2011, but could go ahead as they failed to find any possible loopholes in the security system of Mumbai Police.

Rehman, who was wanted in the blasts, had bought a ticket and watched an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors at Wankhede on April 20, 2011 in a bid to survey the sprawling stadium at the instructions from arrested accused Yasin Bhatkal, Maharashtra ATS sources said.

‘After gaining entry to stadium, Rehman observed a tight security,’ the sources told PTI. Two days later, Asadullah and Rehman together scouted the areas outside the stadium to find out possible loopholes in the security system. At that time, a match was on between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, he said.

The two felt the security was very tight and Rehman briefed Yasin that planting bomb inside the stadium was very risky following which Yasin had dropped his plan to target the IPL in 2011, the source added.After carrying out reconnaissance at various places in the city, including Wankhede stadium, the IM zeroed in on Zaveri Bazaar, Opera house and Dadar and accordingly executed the blasts on 13  July, 2011.

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