Almost a year after the arrest of top Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal from Nepal, the National Investigation Agency is trying to explore his links in the country and sending a letter rogatory to probe his activities. Yasin stayed in Nepal for one-and-a-half years before he was arrested by Indian intelligence agencies.
The NIA probe following his arrest revealed Yasin had not only set up base in Nepal, but also radicalised a dozen Muslim youths to carry out attacks in India. The LR will also seek assistance in collection of evidence and statements of the youths contacted by Yasin. An NIA team may also visit Nepal to help their counterparts collect evidence.
In its proposal before the MHA, the NIA had given details of Yasin’s hideouts as well as information on Imams and locals motivated by him. Yasin moved to Nepal in February 2012 and set up three hideouts — two in Pokhra and one in Pratappur.
The NIA has also asked authorities in Nepal to investigate attempts by Yasin to obtain citizenship of their country. Yasin had disclosed that he had contacted a Maoist leader, Manzoor, who promised to help him procure a licensed weapon that would be valid throughout Nepal.
Yasin was also in the process of setting up an arms factory in Nepal, on the lines of his Mir Vihar factory in Delhi that was busted in 2011. The NIA will also ask local authorities to investigate the arms factory where lathe machines were being set up. The factory belonged to Kiran Thapa, a non-Muslim, which made Yasin and accomplice Riyaz Bhatkal sceptical of using it to train of new recruits. Later, Yasin shelved the plans of an arms factory and vacated the premises, officials said.
Another contact of Yasin, identified as Abdullah alias Bal Bahadur Thapa — a retired Indian Army soldier — is also under the scanner.
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The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.