Country’s premier investigating agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA), yesterday got 12 days’ custody of Yasin Bhatkal, one of the India’s most wanted men and co-founder of Indian Mujahideen (IM), to unravel the wide terrorist infrastructure he helped to build.
NIA special judge IS Mehta also sent another IM operative, Asadulla Akhtar alias Haddi, to 12 days’ NIA custody till September 10.
Bhatkal and Akhtar were arrested on Thursday from the India-Nepal border -- a la Abdul Karim Tunda, a key Lashkar-e-Taiba operative and expert bomb-maker on August 16.
Lodged in a high security jail near Bihar capital of Patna, officials said Bhatkal (30), and his associate spent a sleepless night. “Both of them hardly slept at night, talked rarely but they ate food and drank adequate water,” said a police officer.
“A team of NIA officials interrogated Bhatkal and Akhtar at the high security Bihar Military Police camp in Patna,” he added
The two were brought to Delhi by a special plane.
Bhatkal tops the Delhi Police list of 15 most wanted terrorists involved in bombings across the country and is wanted by 12 state police for terror activities that killed scores and maimed hundreds.
Considered a big catch in a fortnight after the arrest of Tunda, the investigating agency hopes to crack the entire IM terror module and find out about its funding.
During an in-camera proceedings, NIA said custody of Bhatkal and his associate was needed to “unearth the larger conspiracy” behind terror attacks and to get leads to arrest 10 more absconding suspects, informed sources.
Both the accused, who were hooded, will also to be taken to various places in and outside Delhi, the NIA said.
NIA, seeking custody of both, also submitted that the agency has filed a charge-sheet against five other accused on July 17 in a case of hatching a conspiracy to carry out terror strikes in the country and non-bailable warrants had been issued against them for September 30.
The charge sheet was filed under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the IPC relating to conspiracy to commit offenses against the state.
Bhatkal was held by Nepali cops?
According to a leading Nepali daily Kantipur, Bhatkal was arrested in Kathmandu and then handed over to Indian authorities.
However, Nepal’s officials have denied this.
The daily claimed that Bhaktal was arrested by Nepali security agencies on Wednesday from the heart of Kathmandu and handed over at the Nepal-India border at Raxual. He was then shifted to Motihari district in Bihar.
Nepal home ministry spokesperson Shanker Prasad Koirala said that it didn’t “have any knowledge about these arrests.”