A man, who police claim was heading the Nepal module of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) while he evaded arrest for the past 15 years, has been nabbed in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. The Delhi Police operation to apprehend 49-year-old Irfan Ahmed took place on May 7.
He was sent to 14 days in judicial custody on Monday.
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The 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, Delhi Police said, helped free the “terror operative” when the inner walls of the prison house in Sindhupal Chowk, the district worst hit by the earthquake on April 25, caved in. Ahmed, police claim, was behind the 1993 bomb blasts in trains across the country, on the eve of the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.
“Irfan was first arrested by Delhi Police in January 1994 and later handed over to the CBI. He was charged with planting bombs in Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani and Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani trains, passing through Kanpur railway station on December 5 and 6, 1993. Bombs had also gone off in trains in Hyderabad, Indergarh, Surat, Lucknow and Gulbarga simultaneously,” Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), S N Srivastava, said
“Irfan was convicted in 1999. However, he jumped parole granted in 2001 for his brother’s wedding and had been on the run since. The 15 other accused the CBI had arrested were convicted in February 2005 for life under TADA,” Srivastava, said.
Irfan’s name features in the interrogation report of Jalees Ansari, a former government doctor in Mumbai who “masterminded” the 1993 train blasts.
Jalees is currently serving a life sentence. If Irfan had served his jail term, he was slated to be released in July 2015.
According to Delhi Police, while Irfan was in Tihar between 1996 and 1999, he befriended Aasif Reza Khan, a founder-member of what the state and police call the IM.
When Imran walked out of Ajmer jail on a four-day parole in June 2001 to attend his brother’s wedding, Aasif contacted Irfan and convinced him to jump parole and head the IM from Nepal.
Irfan agreed and went to Kolkata, where he met Aasif and his brother Amir, who reportedly oversaw IM operations from Karachi, Pakistan, along with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, police said.
“In Nepal, Irfan began manufacturing and selling jackets and also ran a cyber cafe. He used to indoctrinate Indians in Nepal and send them over to Pakistan for training. Trained recruits from Pakistan then came back to Nepal, from where they entered India. So Kathmandu, under Irfan, became a nodal point between Pakistan and India for the IM, police said. Nepal police, however, arrested him in 2010 on charges of attempting to acquire Nepalese citizenship on forged documents. He had been lodged in Sindhupal Chowk jail since then,” DCP (Special Cell) Sanjeev Yadav said.
Irfan also got his son Issa (31) to join him, who was especially tasked with the job of safely sending off Pakistani-trained men to India from Kathmandu.
The Special Cell had arrested Issa in August, 2006 from near New Delhi Railway station and recovered 2 kg of explosives from him and his associate.
Though Issa mentioned his father Irfan’s name and his location in Nepal, Delhi Police said they could not do much to arrest him till the earthquake struck nine years later.