The confessional statement of Mohammed Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged top operative and ‘bomb-maker’ of Indian Mujahideen (IM), has revealed his links with the alleged terror suspects hailing from Pune and how they further planned and executed various terror strikes. Yasin’s confessional statement was recorded in October last year.
It is included in the chargesheet recently submitted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Delhi court against Yasin and his three aides, including Asadullah Akhtar, who was arrested along with him from Nepal last August.
50-day Firearms training in Pak
As per the confessional statement, Yasin was involved in different businesses like garments in Mumbai, perfume in Bhatkal, sports goods in Dubai, and a job in construction between 2001 and 2007. It is stated that Yasin met IM mastermind Riyaz Bhatkal through his cousin Sajid Salafi in 2004 in Mumbai as they were of identical mindset. Riyaz discussed the problems of Muslims and suggested that Yasin visit Pakistan.
Accordingly, Yasin visited Pakistan from Bhatkal in December 2005 on an Indian passport for firearms training of about 50 days. After doing some jobs in Dubai, Yasin returned to India in 2007 and started staying in Koppa in Karnataka. Riyaz then asked him to train others and sent two boys, Sayeed and Aniq, to him.
The duo lived with Yasin for about 15 days. Yasin has said that he gave “target practice to the two boys with air gun” as he did not have any material with him at Koppa. It may be recalled that Sayeed and Aniq, hailing from Pune, were arrested by the Mumbai crime branch for alleged links with IM’s ‘media cell’ that sent terror e-mails to the media taking responsibility of blasts in Gujarat in 2008.
Planned terror attacks in Gujarat
After training two boys at Koppa, Yasin had a meeting with Bhatkal brothers along with Asif alias Hasan, Faizal, Chowdhary, Mansoor Peerbhoy and Mazid to discuss the rights and atrocities of Muslims in Gujarat and also planned to do some “acts” in the state, according to the confessional statement. Bhatkal brothers allegedly allotted them different tasks, like collection of SIM cards, preparation of timers and recovering explosives.
Most of these suspects hail from Pune and were arrested by Mumbai crime branch along with Peerbhoy, who is allegedly the head of IM’s media cell, operating from Ashoka Mews Apartment in Kondhwa. According to chargesheet filed by Mumbai crime branch, the IM operatives allegedly prepared timer devices in Pune, which were used for making IEDs for blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat.
Inspired by movie, he made claymore IEDs
Yasin said in his statement, “For the Ahmedabad blasts Ahmed Bawa, Mohsin Chaudhary (who is from Kondhwa and is on the run) and I were entrusted with different tasks. In March 2008, after getting inspired by a Hollywood movie, I prepared claymore IEDs after we collected all the material needed. In July, I was called by Riyaz to Pune and with the assistance of Ateef Ahmed and Sajid, I prepared 30 IEDs in Ahmedabad. (It is suspected that timer devices for these IEDs were prepared in Pune.) I placed these IEDs at 30 places in Surat on July 24 and 25. But they did not explode due to failure of timers. During this period, Iqbal was in Pune, while Riyaz accompanied me to various places.” Yasin allegedly later prepared 30 more IEDs. IM operatives exploded these in Ahmedabad, killing around 60 people.
Earlier, Yasin also allegedly prepared 10 IEDs for Jaipur blasts in February 2008, after which he was received by Mohsin and Akbar Chowdhary in Pune. As per the statement, Yasin stayed in Pune with Bhatkal brothers in a rented room after the Batla House encounter in 2008.
Commandant Jamal Khan of the CRPF’s Institute of IED Management said, “Claymore IEDs are directional devices, which means they are constructed in a way that they give impact in a specific direction, maximising the damage. These IEDs have been used by the IM in several terrorist attacks.”
Baig not named in German Bakery blast
In his statement, Yasin said that as many active IM members were arrested, he was silent for a year. Meanwhile, Kolkata police arrested him in an arms dealing case under Section 381 of IPC. He remained in judicial custody for 45 days. Yasin stated, “After coming out from jail, I, along with Qateel Siddiqui and others, wanted revenge…accordingly we caused a blast at German Bakery in Pune in 2010.”
Yasin has not named Himayat Baig, who is the only suspect arrested by Maharashtra ATS in the case. Investigators are probing Yasin’s role in J M Road blasts. His aide Asadullah, also alleged to be a bomb-maker, has been named in J M Road serial bombings of August 2012.