SANTOSHEE GULABKALI MISHRA
A team from the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) will be sent to Delhi to interrogate and subsequently seek custody of Wakas Ibrahim Shaikh alias Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, a wanted accused in the 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts case. Waqas, along along with three other suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, was arrested from Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajashthan by the Delhi Police Special Cell.
The state ATS had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh in February 2013 for information on Waqas, an alleged close aide of IM operative Yasin Bhatkal.
As per the ATS’s chargesheet in the 13/7 case, Waqas (Wanted accused No.2) planted the bomb that exploded at Opera House on July 13, 2011.
“There is evidence to establish that wanted accused Yasin Bhatkal (W1), Wakas (W2) and Tabrez (W3) used the Stolen Activa Motor Scooter MH-12-CJ-6501. The CCTV footage clearly shows that the Wanted accused No.2 and 3 parked the motor scooter on TATA Road No.1 and wanted accused No.2 kept the bag containing the IED near a hawker stall at TATA Road No.1, Opera House,” the chargesheet says.
According to the ATS, during his stay at Habib Mansion in Byculla, Waqas had complained of fever and his liver was found to be enlarged, following which he was under treatment at JJ Hospital for nine days. He allegedly gave a false identity and fake Mumbai address to the hospital. Waqas also allegedly underwent a laser surgery in October 2011 to change his look, ATS sources said.
Waqas is also allegedly involved in the Jama Masjid attacks on September 19, 2010, and the Sheetla Ghat, Varanasi, blasts carried out on December 7, 2010. He is also allegedly involved in the August 1, 2012 Jangli Maharaj Road serial blasts in Pune and the Hyderabad serial blasts on February 21, 2013.
“Waqas is an expert bomb maker,” said an ATS source. “Waqas was born in Mustafabad in Pakistan and is the son of a farmer. His grandfather had migrated to Pakistan from Phagwara in Punjab (India) at the time of partition. Waqas has pursued a diploma in food technology from Faislabad and he came in contact with one Taj Mohammad in 2009 who used to collect donations on behalf of Jamat-Ud-Dawa, the frontal organistaion of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Taj Mohammad arranged for his training at the Naushera camp of LeT. Waqas underwent the 21 days training known as dauara-amma,” said a Delhi Police Special Cell officer.
Delhi police said that after receiving terror training, Waqas was asked by Abdur Rehman of Jaish-e -Mohammed to go to Karachi and meet Riyaz Bhatkal, the absconding chief of the IM. In Karachi, Waqas allegedly met Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, who asked him to proceed to Kathmandu, Nepal, to join other members of IM in carrying out terrorist strikes in India. Waqas allegedly reached Kathmandu in September 2010 and was received by Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, the absconding current chief of IM and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi (Later arrested).
From Nepal, Waqas allegedly came to Darbhanga in Bihar where he met Ahmed Sidhibappa Zarar alias Yasin Bhatkal and other members of the Bihar module of IM. This module was then allegedly planning for the Jama Masjid attacks carried out on September 19, 2010, in Delhi. After successfully executing the strike, Waqas returned to Bihar, Delhi police sources said.
In Bihar, after carrying out a comprehensive review of the Jama Masjid attacks wherein the IED prepared by this module did not have the desired impact Waqas allegedly informed Yasin Bhatkal about his expertise in making Hydrogen Peroxide based IEDs. This later led to the Sheetla Ghat, Varanasi, blasts carried out on December 7, 2010, sources said. While making the IEDs for this strike, Waqas allegedly suffered an injury when he was connecting the detonator. Two fingers of Waqas’s left hand were injured, sources said.
After the Varansi bombings, as per the directives of Yasin Bhatkal, Waqas allegedly shifted to Mumbai where he stayed in a rented accommodation. In June, 2011 Waqas, Yasin and Asadullah and Tehseen allegedly started preparing for the serial blasts in Mumbai.
After the 13/7 serial blasts, the next strike allegedly carried out by Waqas was the Pune serial blasts of August 1, 2012 .
However, the Pune blasts did not allegedly yield the desired results and Waqas, Yasin and Asdullah left for Mangalore and settled in a safe house, sources said.
‘Plans to target IPL matches at Wankhede were abandoned’
MUMBAI: Maharashtra ATS sources said Waqas Ibrahim Shaikh had bought a ticket and entered Wankhede stadium on April 20, 2011 during a Mumbai Indians-Pune Warriors IPL game to check the security arrangements.
Subsequently, during the Mumbai Indians-Chennai Super Kings match on April 22, 2011, Waqas and Asadullah Akhtar went to Wankhede to see the security arrangements outside the stadium, but ultimately abandoned any plans they had to target the stadium, ATS sources said.