Top Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal and his key associate Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi has reportedly claimed that it was their group that carried out five blasts at Varanasi,Jaunpur,Gorakhpur,Lucknow and Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh between 2005 and 2007 and not the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI),as claimed by the state police.
Eight alleged HuJI operatives are currently lodged in jail and are facing trials in these cases as per chargesheets filed by the UP Police.
Obedur Rahman alias Babu Bhai,Hilal alias Hilaluddin,Nafikul Vishwas and Mohammad Alam Giri alias Rony,all alleged HuJI men,are facing trial in the Shramjeevi Express blast case (2005). Another HuJI man,Waliullah,is a key accused in the Varanasis Sankatmochan temple and Cantonment railway station case in 2006.
Other alleged HuJI men Tariq Qasmi,Khalid Mujahid,Sajjadur-Rehman and Mohammad Akhtar were arrested for their role in blasts in Lucknow and Faizabad courts in 2007. Tariq is also an accused in the Gorakhpur blast case of same year.
While Khalid had died mysteriously in a police van while being brought to Lucknow jail after attending a court hearing in Faizabad in May this year,Sajjadur was acquitted in the Lucknow court blast case.
The UP police had made three IM operatives Mirza Shadab Beig,Ariz Khan alias Junaid and Arif Badr co-accused in the blast cases of Gorakhpur and Lucknow court. Badr has been arrested while others are absconding.
In the Shramjeevi blast case,the prosecution has so far produced 52 witnesses but none has corroborated the police version. The UP Police had arrested the alleged HuJI operatives and worked out the case on the basis of statements of two alleged terrorists Amisul Murslin and Mahibul who were arrested by Delhi Police in 2006. However,Amisul and Mahibul later refused to identify the accused in court.
Contradicting the UP Police investigations,sources said Bhatkal had revealed that IM operatives Atif Amin and Sadiq Sheikh,both from Azamgarh,had executed the Shramjeevi blast. Atif had put the bomb in the toilet of the train at Varanasi railway station on July 28,2005. The blast killed12 persons.
Atif was killed in the 2008 Batla House encounter.
Asadullah reportedly told interrogators that the recce for the twin blasts in Varanasi was carried out by him and Mohammad Saif,Atif Amin,Arif Badr,Shadab alias Mallik,Ariz alias Junaid and Sadiq alias Yasir. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were assembled in pressure cookers by Sadiq alias Yasir and Atif Amin while Arif Badr set the timers. On March 7,2006,Saif and Atif planted one bomb at Godaulia market,Shadab and another IM man placed one at Sankatmochan temple while Asadaullah and Ariz kept another at the railway station. The bomb at the market failed to explode while the blasts at the other two places killed 20.
Asadullah also revealed that the IEDs for the blasts in UP courts were assembled by Arif . Mohammad Saif,Chhota Sajid and Shadab Ahmad placed the bombs in Varanasi court. Shadab alias Mallik and Saifur planted a bomb at Faizabad court and Atif Amin and Ariz Khan did so at Lucknow court on November 23,2007.