The National Investigation Agency has claimed that alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal and his aides were sponsored by the ISI. However, contents of the supplementary chargesheet filed against Yasin in a Delhi court on February 24 paint the picture of a group struggling for funds, living in cheap rented accommodation, and trying to raise money through extortion and by “selling cartridges”. Some examples:
* Extortion and kidnapping: “During the chat between Assadullah and Shadab on 5th July, Shadaab wanted a passport of Bangladesh — the only problem Shadaab had was shortage of money,” says the chargesheet… “Investigations established Assadullah and Mirza Shadaab Beg planned to set up a new system of extortion of money from persons in Dubai (UAE) to generate funds for terrorist activities.”
According to the NIA, “investigations have established that in pursuance of the conspiracy, the IM operatives like Mohsin Choudhary and Amir Reza Khan remained engaged in efforts for earning money through extortion from places like Pune and Kolkata from their base in Karachi”. The evidence for this, the NIA says, lies in the analysis of alleged web chats among IM members.
“During a chat between Assadullah and Mirza Shadaab Beg on 3rd June 2013, Beg told him not to worry about how to make money since one party (mg) was ready with Rs 15 Crore ‘15 Crore lekar khadi hai’ to be given as amount of extortion to pvz @ parvez @ Amir Reza Khan,” the chargesheet says.
At another place, the chargesheet says: “During the chat between Assadullah Akhtar and Mirza Shadab Beg on 5th June 2013… they discussed about arrangement of explosives and kidnapping of any whites. They discussed that they should kidnap someone to obtain ‘Maal-e-Ghanimat’ to fulfill their financial needs.”
* Selling cartridges: The chargesheet says “investigation has established that… Md Ahmed Siddibapa (Yasin Bhatkal) along with other IM opertaives decided to manufacture the catridges at Mir Vihar factory. The manufacturing cost of one catridge was low and the same could be sold out in the black market for higher price. This profit was good enough for livelihood and for target killings. For this one pistol was brought by Qateel from Munger district in Bihar for test firing of the catridge to be manufactured in the factory…”
* Rents: According to the chargesheet, “In October 2011,… Yasin Bhatkal went to Dharbanga to settle the payments of rented room etc. He was planning to establish one production unit of Vinegar at Shiv Dhara Dharbanga, Bihar. For this , he took a rented room at Jamalchak near Shiv Dhara with the assistance of one Kafil Chacha against the monthly payment of Rs 500. To make Vinegar, he procured 50 litres of acetic acid from Kolkatta…”
* Nepal: Despite larger claims about the IM’s contacts with the ISI, Taliban and al-Qaeda, the alleged terrorists seem, from the evidence in the chargesheet, to be struggling to find arms and ammunition for their activities, with not much help forthcoming from their alleged benefactors. The chargesheet says:
“During chat of Yasin with Riyaz on 25th June, 2013, Yasin mentioned he had met a big Maoist leader yesterday but did not find him useful. Though he was Muslim, he was proudy. He was claiming very high rates for supply of weapons.
“In June 2013, Riyaz and Yasin discussed the setting up of an arms manufacturing in Nepal or Bangladesh. On June 6, 2013, Riyaz told Yasin one arms manufacturer who was in jail in Bangladesh had reached Pakistan — his friend was known to them and the plan was to make a “setup” of arms in Nepal or in Bangladesh…
“On April 22, 2013, Riyaz told Yasin the supplier was asking to receive the weapons in Bihar as he was having problems in delivery in Nepal. But Riyaz asked for delivery in Nepal and refused for delivery in Bihar…”