The Delhi Police on Thursday claimed to have foiled attacks on marketplaces in the capital and at Bodhgaya and solved the recent Pune serial blasts with the arrest of three alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) militants. Large quantities of explosives were allegedly recovered from them.
Police said that the blasts in Pune on August 1 were a revenge attack plotted by the Bhatkal brothers for the killing of alleged IM operative Qateel Siddiqui inside Yerwada jail in Pune earlier this year.
Two of the men,Asad Khan and Imran Khan,were picked up during a Special Cell raid on a house in Pul Prahladpur,in southeast Delhi,on September 26,reportedly following a specific tip-off. The duo had come to the capital around September 20-21 and were allegedly waiting for instructions to carry out terrorist strikes during the festival season.
Police claimed to have recovered 4 kg of explosives,eight detonators with 9-volt batteries,circuits,ball bearings and nails from them.
The interrogation of Asad and Imran reportedly led to the arrest of their third associate Sayyed Feroze,who was picked up from Nizamuddin railway station on October 1 while on his way from Ahmednagar. The police claimed to have recovered 1 kg of explosives and two detonators from him.
The police said that the trios interrogation had revealed that around five-six IM operatives planned the Pune blasts. The decision was reportedly taken in July 2012,with the final clearance from Riyaz Bhatkal reportedly coming through at Asads tour and travel office in Aurangabad.
In July 2012,Sayyed took a flat on rent at Kasarwadi in Pune. After a few days,two other militants whose names we are not disclosing joined them. They had brought explosives with them. For preparing the IED,they visited the electronic market of Budhwar Peth market in Pune where they purchased digital watches,circuit boards and other electronic items. On August 1,2012,they went to Phadke Haud and purchased three bicycles. They rode the cycles to the Deccan bus stand and parked these at the cycle stand. In the evening,they left their flat with explosives in their rucksacks and planted the IEDs in the bicycles which they had parked on the Junglee Maharaj Road, said Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar at a press conference.
According to the police,the blasts were planned by Sayyed Feroze with an alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operative,Fayyaz Ahmed Qaqzi. The two had reportedly met several times,including in Maharashtra and Saudi Arabia. Asad and Imran too reportedly met Qaqzi several times in Saudi Arabia. Police say the three were inducted into militancy by Qaqzi,who reportedly introduced them to the Bhatkal brothers,the founding members of IM,in Saudi Arabia.
In January 2012,said the police,Qaqzi introduced Asad to the Bhatkal brothers,who wanted to avenge the death of Qateel Siddiqui who was murdered inside Yerwada jail on June 8. Initially,the plan was to kill the family members of the two accused who had killed Siddiqui,but this plan was shelved as the relatives couldnt be traced. The police said an attack was also planned on the Yerwada jail but given up because of the high security around the prison. A plan to carry out an attack in Mumbai was allegedly also shelved because of logistical problems.
Kumar said that it was during their interrogation of alleged LeT operative Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal several months ago that they learnt of terrorist organisations from abroad planning strikes in the country. An FIR registered then by the Special Cell had named Qaqzi for conspiracy and waging war against country.
We learnt that Qaqzi along with the help of IM operatives Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal was planning the terror strikes. We developed this information and learnt about the hideout of the militants who were trying to set up a base in Delhi. They had planned an attack at a temple in Bodhgaya and other busy marketplaces in Delhi. We have already informed the Bihar Police about their plans, he said.
Kumar added that one Raju bhai helped Asad and Imran find accommodation in Pul Prahladpur. It was Raju bhai who helped them settle and supplied them daily items. We are on the lookout for Raju bhai and have also got sketches prepared. Efforts are on to establish the identity of Raju bhai and the other absconding IM members, added Kumar.
While Asad is a resident of Aurangabad district in Maharashtra,Imran is from Nanded district. Feroze belongs to Shukrawar Peth in Pune. A 33-year-old B.Com graduate from a Nanded college,Asad has a diploma in computer hardware from a private institute in Pune. He had tried to set up a computer business in Pune which reportedly caused him huge losses. He also operates a travel and tour business in Aurangabad.
Imran,31,has studied uptil Class 12 and worked with a few government contractors in Nanded. He has also worked as a sales agent for IDBI bank.
Feroze,38,studied only till Class 10 and runs a garment shop by the name of Options by Feroze.