A suspected key Indian Mujahideen operative, accused of routing funds to carry out bomb blasts in India, was apprehended last week by authorities in Abu Dhabi and Indian agencies are working to establish his identity and seek his deportation.
The suspect, believed to be Abdul Wahid Siddibapa, belongs to the coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal and is also a distant relative of IM founders Riyaz and Yasin Bhatkal, sources said.
An Interpol red corner notice issued against Wahid says he is wanted for his alleged involvement in the July 2006 Mumbai serial blasts, the 2008 Delhi blasts and the 2010 Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts in Bangalore.
Indian security agencies, helped by Interpol, are verifying the antecedents of the man who has been held and are awaiting responses from their Abu Dhabi counterparts.
Sources in the home ministry said NIA officers will fly to Abu Dhabi to present evidence against Wahid once his identity is established.
According to the dossier on Wahid with Indian agencies, the 32-year-old terror suspect is alleged to have routed money sent by Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal using banking channels and Western Union Money Transfer ahead of blasts in India.
The United Arab Emirates and its neighbour Saudi Arabia have in recent years deported nearly half-a-dozen terror suspects to India and the cooperation between New Delhi and Abu Dhabi comes ahead of the visit of Saudi crown prince Salman, who is due to visit India later this month.
Sources said Wahid has been using the alias ‘Khan’ and his codename was also found mentioned in chats between Yasin and Riyaz Bhatkal. Yasin was arrested in August from the India-Nepal border along with Asadullah Akhtar. Riyaz is believed to be operating from Pakistan.
Wahid is believed to be the son of Yasin’s father’s cousin and for the last 10 years has been based in Dubai, where he is said to have multiple business interests and visited Abu Dhabi frequently.
Originally a resident of Maqdoom Colony in Bhatkal, Wahid is known to be fluent in Urdu, English, Hindi and Kannada and is a follower of Ahle-Hadees, a puritanical strain of Islam.
His alleged role in the IM network became clear after Yasin’s arrest as Wahid is also believed to have helped the outfit in the transit of jihadis using the middle-eastern route to go to Pakistan for training.
Investigators said questioning Wahid would help them understand the sources of the IM’s funds. It will also help agencies identify other members of modules operating from Saudi Arabia, UAE and other middle-eastern countries.