Indian Mujahideen (IM) chief Yasin Bhatkal, wanted in bomb blasts across the country, was arrested from the India-Nepal border Wednesday night and is in the custody of Bihar Police, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Thursday.
"Yasin Bhatkal has been arrested last (Wednesday) night. He is in the custody of Bihar Police and the interrogation is going on," Shinde told reporters outside parliament.
The home minister said the IM chief was arrested by intelligence agencies on the India-Nepal border.
Yasin Bhatkal is allegedly involved in blasts across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat.
Police had issued names and photographs of Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Zarrar Siddhibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal.
Secret operation led to Bhatkal's arrest
The operation to arrest Indian Mujahideen chief Yasin Bhatkal was so secret that even after his arrest only few top Bihar Police officers were informed and they too were not told about where he was being held for questioning, an officer said.
Bihar Police played a major role in the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, who is wanted in bomb blasts across the country, Bihar Police chief Abhayanand said here.
"It was Bihar Police that mainly helped NIA (National Investigation Agency) and other government agencies to arrest Bhatkal," Abhyanand told mediapersons here.
"A team of Bihar Police officials have interrogated Bhatkal at a secret place after he was arrested," he said.
East Champaran district Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar said that Bhatkal would be brought to Motihari from Raxaul under tight security before being taken to Delhi.
An additional director general of police rank officer told IANS on condition of anonymity that even after Bhatkal was arrested, only few top officers were informed and they were also not told about where he was kept for interrogation.
Who is Yasin Bhatkal
In his mid-30s, Bhatkal, also known as Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Zarrar Siddhibappa, belongs to Bhatkal district in north Karnataka.
Police said he was involved in 11 bomb attacks across India including in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat.
Bhatkal co-founded IM in 2008 along with his brothers Riaz and Iqbal and four others.
Bhatkal is also wanted for the German Bakery bomb blast in Pune Feb 13, 2010 that killed 17 people. The terror group was outlawed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 2011.
Bhatkal along with others were also said to be behind three coordinated bomb blasts at Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar West in Mumbai July 13, 2011 that killed 27 people.
In 2011, Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 15 lakh for information leading to the arrest of Bhatkal.
Similarly, the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) had also earlier this year announced a Rs 10 lakh reward on him.
There were reports that Yasin was in Mumbai even after the 13/11 blasts and he stayed at the Habib Mansion building in Byculla for several months.
The terrorist, said to be responsible for IM activities across India, had married before the 2008 Delhi bomb attack.
Yasin recruits youngsters from northern states and brainwashes them to execute terror attacks.