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‘Yasin aide discussed Delhi blasts with man killed in Batla shootout’

IM’s Waqas was injured in Varanasi blast, but pretended to be a victim and escaped

Waqas is also said to have told investigators that explosives for the 2011 triple blasts in Mumbai were sourced by the terror group from Mangalore.

One of the accused in Jodhpur on Sunday. PTI One of the accused in Jodhpur on Sunday. PTI

Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on Saturday, is believed to have told investigators that he had burnt two fingers while planting a bomb at Varanasi’s Sheetla Ghat in 2010 as its detonator exploded but he pretended to be a victim and escaped.

Some locals had even tried to help him and “nobody inquired about it”, he is believed to have said, adding that IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal subsequently administered first-aid and he did not go to a hospital.

Waqas is also said to have told investigators that explosives for the 2011 triple blasts in Mumbai were sourced by the terror group from Mangalore.

The explosives and gelatine sticks were procured by the IM’s Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, who was arrested with IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal from the India-Nepal border last year, he is believed to have claimed.

Waqas, police sources claimed, had told investigators that Yasin and he had taken an apartment on rent in Mumbai’s Byculla area before the attack and that he stayed in Mumbai for two months then.

During his stay, he is said to have claimed that he joined a private institute which teaches how to repair mobile phones and paid Rs 1,200 as fees. One of his reasons for wanting to learn this was to understand mobile circuits and how they could be used to trigger bombs.

He is also believed to have claimed that he got Rs 1 lakh through hawala for the blasts and two Honda Activa scooters were stolen from the city to be used during the blasts. The group had allegedly planned to plant a bomb near the Dadar foot overbridge and another at the Siddhivinayak Temple, but high security at the temple forced them to change their plan.

As reported earlier, Waqas also claimed he fell ill on the night of the Mumbai blasts and was admitted to JJ Hospital for two weeks under a fake identity. He was diagnosed to be suffering from Malaria. After recovering, he fled to Goa with his associates. There, a police officer visited their house during routine patrolling but apparently failed to identify them despite their identikits being circulated across the country, he claimed.

IM operative’s trainer suspected to be same man named by Headley

An Abdur Rehman, identified by Pakistan-origin IM operative Zia ur Rehman alias Waqas alias Javed as his Pakistani trainer, is suspected to be a former Pakistani military official — Abdur Rehman Pasha — first named by 26/11 accused David Headley during his interrogation by the NIA in 2010. Waqas was arrested by the Delhi Police special cell on Saturday.

During interrogation, Waqas, who was among the bombers in the IM attacks in Mumbai in July 2011 and Hyderabad in February 2013, named an Abdur Rehman as the person who arranged his training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan before asking him to go to Karachi to meet IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal.

The man Waqas is referring to is suspected to be Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Hashim Pasha, a retired Major in the Pakistani military who is an accused in a December 24, 2011 NIA chargesheet along with US national David Headley and Canadian national Tahawwur Rana for plotting to carry out bombings in India in connivance with LeT and HUJI operatives.

Abdur Rehman Pasha has also been named by the US FBI as a key accused alongside Headley and Rana in a 2009 plot to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in Copenhagen. He figures at number three in the list of 50 most wanted terrorists in India and has an Interpol red corner notice issued for his arrest on the request of Indian authorities.

Sources said the Abdur Rehman named by Waqas is the same person named by Headley.

Headley, during his interrogation, had first revealed the existence of a man called Abdur Rehman alias Major alias Pasha, who was initially a part of the LeT set up in Pakistan, but later broke away to ally with terrorists in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas to train people to carry out attacks in India. Headley had stated that Abdur Rehman Pasha was focused on preparing a group of Indian youths in Pakistan to carry out terror attacks in India.

The NIA, in its report, concluded that Abdur Rehman alias Pasha was a key figure in what was described as the ‘Karachi setup’.

“Pasha has long been associated with operations in India. Headley believes that local Indian boys are involved in the Karachi setup,” the NIA said in its report. “Abdur Rehman is directly in touch with the top of brass of the Al Qaeda… has met Osama a number of times,” the NIA stated.

Abdur Rehman Pasha’s name also emerged in the course of investigations into the 2008 blasts in Bangalore.

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