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Man key to Delhi terror plot had surrendered in 2007,say police

Ahtesham Malik,the 23-year-old from Batpora in Sopore who is one of the three alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives arrested for plotting a terror strike in Delhi,had surrendered to the J&K police in 2007.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | New Delhi/sopore | Published: March 3, 2012 6:56:08 am

Ahtesham Malik,the 23-year-old from Batpora in Sopore who is one of the three alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives arrested for plotting a terror strike in Delhi,had surrendered to the J&K police in 2007.

Ahtesham told his interrogators that he returned to the Lashkar “out of fear” three years later after he began receiving threat calls.

Police sources said he also disclosed that the terror module planned to bomb a bank and a market in Srinagar after striking in Old Delhi.

Ahtesham was first contacted by Muzamil Amin Dar alias Usman — the fourth man who is wanted by police for the terror plot — when he was 19. His father forced him to leave Sopore after he drew the attention of security agencies. He moved to Kanpur but returned to the Valley and surrendered.

Set free,he moved to his maternal home in Hazaribagh,Jharkhand where he applied for a passport. “Ahtesham returned to Sopore in 2010 to meet his father. It was then that Usman made him join the LeT again,” a police officer said,adding that Usman told him to apply for a Pakistan visa.

“On his return from Pakistan in January 2012,he went to Hazaribagh. A week before his arrest,Ahtesham came to Delhi and moved in with Shafqat Ali who had already rented an apartment. Shafqat (the second to be arrested)worked for a coffee retail chain and it was his job to recce the congested markets of Old Delhi,” the officer said.

Usman,the suspect on the run,is from Badambagh in Sopore. A science graduate,he worked as a medical representative. His father runs an electrical goods store in the town. In 2010,he and his father were arrested for allegedly supporting militants. Police claimed they even recovered arms and ammunition from their home.

Touseef Ahmad Pir,the third man to be arrested in the terror plot and a cousin of Ahtesham,is also from Badambagh in Sopore. His father Mohammad Sayeed Pir,a former militant,works as a teacher in a private school in Sopore.

While in Class XII,Touseef also worked at a local public call office (PCO). It was the PCO that brought police who arrested him,only to release him after a few days. Tauseef was then sent to Hazaribagh to join cousin Ahtesham and enrol for a computer course.

Touseef’s mother Mehbooba Begum said: “The DSP told us to send him out of the state,let him study. That is why we let him go. The DSP even spoke to him and his aunt on the phone… We didn’t realise the DSP was actually following him. Touseef never had militant links.”

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