Delhi Police yesterday claimed to have thwarted a major terror attack during the upcoming festive season with the arrest of three suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives. A huge cache of explosives has also been recovered.
“Two of the IM operatives Asad Khan (33), and Imran Khan (31), were arrested from south Delhi’s Pul Prahladpur on September 26, the day they came to Delhi from Rurki, a town located in Punjab province of Pakistan.
“The third IM operative Sayed Firoz alias Hamza, 38, was arrested on October 1 from Nizamuddin railway station,” said Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. Around five kg of improvised explosive devices, 10 detonators and some incriminating materials were recovered from them, he said.
Asad — a computer expert inclined towards jehad — was the recruiter, motivator and ideologue of this IM module which received Rs 3 lakh from their mentors based abroad through hawala, he said.
The three were being instructed by IM chief Yasin Bhatkal and his brother Riyaz, apparently operating from across the border, the police chief said.
Pune serial blasts
Neeraj Kumar claimed that the trio was also involved in the August 1 Pune serial blasts. Investigations revealed that Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Fayyaz Ahmed Qagzi, a resident of Beed in Maharashtra and presently based in west Asian countries, was co-ordinating with Bhatkal brothers to set up a base in Delhi and carry out a blast.
“Qagzi was the main man who brought the trio together,” said Neeraj Kumar. Asad and Imran told interrogators that they had come to Delhi on the direction of Bhatkal brothers and Qagzi. In January, Qagzi introduced Asad to Bhatkal brothers — who wanted to avenge the death of Qateel Siddique, a militant of IM killed on June 8, 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 responsible for killing Siddique. This plan was also given up as they could not identify the family members of 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.