In August 2013, just three days before alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal was arrested, his close aide Tehseen Akhtar ‘Monu’ paid a visit to Yasin’s wife Zahida in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar. Tehseen allegedly gave Zahida Rs 1 lakh and a mobile phone.
The money allegedly came from the Rs 1.3 lakh Tehseen had got through hawala in Mumbai.
Curiously, Yasin, in his writings during incarceration at the Delhi Police Special Cell headquarters in Lodhi Colony, mentioned that he suspected he would be arrested. He had told a friend that he believed “next Ramzan would be in Tihar jail”. Yasin’s writings mention that a close friend had sealed his fate.
The Special Cell claimed to have arrested Tehseen on Tuesday from Naxalbari on the India-Nepal border in West Bengal. According to the police, Tehseen was Yasin’s immediate deputy in the IM.
Tehseen is understood to have told interrogators that the October 2013 bombings in Patna were carried out by a SIMI module, and that no IM operatives were involved. “Tehseen claims that he was on good terms with Haider, a member of SIMI’s ‘Black Beauty’ module, but that Haider did not involve any of his (Tehseen’s) men in the Patna blasts,” a senior police officer briefed on the interrogation said.
Tehseen is alleged to have also claimed that he was not directly involved in the 2010 Jama Masjid blasts, and that Yasin had had a showdown with Qateel Siddiqui (who was arrested in 2011 and murdered in Pune jail) because the attack was not successful.
According to police sources, Tehseen has told interrogators that he began to stay in rented accommodation on the outskirts of Hyderabad some months before the Dilsukhnagar blasts of February 2013. Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi (arrested with Yasin) had got a bag of explosives. On February 18, 2013, the team purchased two pressure cookers from Dilsukhnagar, and tested the IED in a hilly area nearby. They bought the bicycle used to plant the bomb from the same place for Rs 1,500.
According to the sources, Tehseen started to stay in Jaipur’s Hasanpura area towards the end of May 2013. This was where he had met Waqas and the three other Rajasthan operatives who were arrested on Sunday.
Tehseen has allegedly revealed that he had, over the past few months, recceed tourist spots in Agra, Jodhpur and the Gopalgarh area of Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.