The alleged mastermind of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts and two of his associates have been arrested in Bihar, police said on Thursday.
Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) S K Singhal identified the suspected mastermind as Tausif Khan, a resident of Ahmedabad and aged around 35 years. Earlier, the Gaya police had identified him as Tausheek Ahmad.
Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Garima Mallik told PTI that the Gujarat ATS had been informed about the arrest and a team was being sent to Gaya. Mallik said the man’s original name is Tausif Khan and that he has been living in Gaya under the name of ‘Atiq Sir’. Mallik said Tausif Khan and his associate Sanaah Khan were arrested from outside a cyber cafe in Rajendra Ashram locality in Gaya town last night.
The owner of the cyber cafe Anurag Basu, who also runs a monthly magazine in Gaya, found the two making some objectionable posts on social media and tipped off the police, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Alok Kumar Singh said.
The arrests were made by a police team with the help of Basu and some locals, he said, adding that on the basis of information gathered from the two, Shahber Khan of Shahdeo Khap village was arrested for giving shelter to Tausif. Sanaah Khan hails from Shahdeo Khap village of Gaya.
Singhal said Tausif and Sanaah culled information on ISIS from the internet and emailed some parts to a few parliamentarians, among others. Bihar ATS Inspector General of Police Sunil Kumar Jha said officers of National Investigation Agency (NIA), RAW, ATS, IB and Bihar Police were questioning the three at Delha police station of Gaya.
The DSP said that during interrogation it emerged that Tausif, who has been staying in Gaya under the name of ‘Atiq Sir’, is a B.Tech in computer and electronics from D Y Patil University in Maharashtra. He has been visiting Gaya since 2009 and staying at Shahdeo Khap village at a shelter provided by Shahber Khan. He was teaching maths and science to students in a school at Shahdeo Khap village. He also presented the teachings of Islam “in a wrong way” to arouse anti-national feelings among his pupils, the DSP claimed.
During interrogation, Tausif revealed the names of more than 12 youths who had been associated with him, the DSP claimed. Jha of the Bihar ATS said the cyber cafe owner and the local police who apprehended him would be rewarded.