Top Indian Mujahideen operative Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, one of the alleged masterminds of a string of terror attacks in the country, was on Wednesday remanded in police custody till April 2 by a Delhi Court.
Akhtar, who was arrested from near Kakarvitta Indo-Nepal border in Darjeeling district of West Bengal yesterday, was brought to Delhi in the night and was produced before the judge here this morning. According to police sources, the Special Cell of Delhi Police told the court that they need to conduct a sustained custodial interrogation of the accused to unearth the entire terror conspiracy of the banned outfit.
Police also told the court that Akhtar, a top bomb-maker of IM, was required to be confronted with one of his top associate Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, a Pakistani national who was arrested on March 22, and others who were also apprehended by them.
According to the police, Akhtar was heading IM after the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of the terror outfit.
The other four accused — Waqas, Shaquib, Mahruf and Waqar — were earlier produced before a court here after being arrested from Rajasthan on March 22 and March 23 respectively and they were remanded to police custody for interrogation till April 2. Akhtar was wanted by security agencies for his alleged roles in a string of terror strikes, including the July 7, 2013 Bodh Gaya Blasts and the October 27 last year blasts in Patna.
The police had earlier told the court that Akhtar and Waqas, had visited Jaipur and Jodhpur a few months back imparted IED manufacturing training to arrested accused – Mohd Mahruf, Mohd Waqar Azhar alias Haneef, and Shaquib Ansari alias Khalid — for carrying out terror activities.
The police said that Waqas, arrested outside Ajmer Railway Station was an expert in making IED (improvised explosive device).
With the arrest of these four accused from Rajasthan, the special cell claimed they have averted a “spectacular terror attack” during the upcoming elections. Akhtar was arrested days after Waqas and other three accused were apprehended.
Police said soon after Akhtar came to know of the arrest of Waqas and company, he fled from his hideout from Nepal and was trying to slip into Bangladesh when he was nabbed. Special Commissioner (Special Cell) S N Shrivastava had said, “23-year-old Akhtar, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, was acting as the chief of IM’s India operations after the arrest of Ahmed Siddibappa Zarar alias Yasin Bhatkal. He was Bhatkal’s key aide and was wanted for a series of terrorist strikes spread over various states.”
The police said Waqas had met Yasin on the instruction of Riyaz Bhatkal, a top IM member who is now based in Pakistan. Waqas was wanted in connection with several bomb blasts in the country and is considered to be a close aide of Yasin Bhatkal who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last year along with close associate Asadullah Akhtar.
While Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi were arrested from Indo-Nepal border in August last year, Waqas and Akhtar were on the run. Waqas and the other three of the Rajasthan module had been working under the direction of Akhtar, who had told them to be ready for strike but did not disclose the target, police said.
According to police, interrogation of Mahruf, Shaquib and Waqar have revealed that they were planning to do something in retaliation of the riots which took place in Gopalgarh town of Rajasthan. Akhtar’s first assignment was in 2010 when he received Waqas who had reached Kathmandu from Pakistan along with Asadullah Akhtar, police said.
Akhtar along with Yasin, Asadullah and Waqas was also involved in the Mumbai serial blasts carried out at Opera House and Zaveri Bazar on July 12, 2011 when Yasin was the boss, it said.