The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has arrested a close aide of suspected Burdwan blast mastermind for allegedly running a recruitment and training camp for terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from a madrasa in Murshidabad, taking the number of arrests in the case to 17.
Fifty-year-old Mofazzal Haque alias Laden was arrested from his native Mukim Nagar village in the district bordering Bangladesh Tuesday night, a senior NIA official said.
Laden is the owner of the madrasa in Lalgola area of Murshidabad where JMB cadres were recruited, trained in making explosives, improvising guns and pistols, and indoctrinated with jihadi ideology, the official said.
A close associate of Burdwan blast mastermind Sheikh Rehmatullah alias Sajjid, who was arrested by the NIA in November last year, Laden is said to be the richest person in Mukim Nagar village where he also runs six brick kilns.
NIA sources said four persons arrested recently in connection with the case gave some information based on which Laden was arrested.
During preliminary interrogation, Laden is said to have admitted to have known at least eight of the prime accused in the case.
It was on October 2 last year that an accidental explosion at a house in Khagragarh area of Burdwan left two suspected JMB activists dead. The Centre later handed over the probe into the blast to NIA. Investigators found that Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were being fabricated in the house and later smuggled to Bangladesh.
The NIA has so far found that members of JMB terror group had established their network in Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda, Birbhum, Burdwan in West Bengal, Barpetta in Assam, and Sahibganj and Pakur in Jharkhand. The NIA also claimed that senior members of JMB had established terrorist training centres and bomb making units in Beldanga and Mukim Nagar of Murshidabad, Nanur of Birbhum and Khagragarh and Simulia of Burdwan district.