A suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and the fifth accused in the August 1 Pune blast case has been arrested, police said yesterday. Four others were arrested earlier.

Sayed Maqbool alias Zuber (35), who was arrested, had trained his associates to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IED) to carry out the blasts, police said.

Deadly duo: The plan to carry out suicide attack on a Buddhist shrine in Bodh Gaya had the approval of (above) Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal

Maqbool, a resident of Nanded in Maharashtra, was held by Delhi Police’s Special Cell from his hideout in Hyderabad on October 23.

The other accused — Asad Khan, and Imran Khan — were held from south Delhi on September 26, Sayed Feroz alias Hamza was arrested on October 1 from Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi, and Langda Irfan Mustafa was arrested in Jaipur on October 10, police said.

Maqbool was closely associated with the other four, police said. He first came in contact with Imran through a common friend and later met Asad and Irfan. Maqbool then taught the four at Asad’s farmhouse in Aurangabad how to make bombs by using urea, diesel and fire cracker powder, police said.
In April, Imran introduced Maqbool to brothers Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.

Before the August 1 Pune serial blasts, Maqbool, Irfan, Imran and Asad discussed their plans to carry out a suicide attack on a Buddhist shrine in Bodh Gaya in Bihar in retaliation for atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar, said SN Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Police (special cell).

Their plan had the approval of Bhatkal brothers, he said.
Since Bhatkals wanted to avenge the death of Quateel Siddiqui, an IM operative, who was killed in Yerawada Central Jail in Pune on June 8, they decided to carry out bomb blasts in Pune first, he said.