A college brawl in Bhatkal brought Yasin Bhatkal close to Fasih Mehmood,his alleged accomplice in terror. Fasih was deported from Saudi Arabia last year,and has been named in the 2010 Jama Masjid attack chargesheet.
Yasin,the alleged co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM),is learnt to have told interrogators that in September 2002,Fasih,who was from Darbhanga and at the time studying engineering at Anjuman Engineering College,and one of his friends beat a local Shetty youth,which put the police on their trail.
Yasin,who ran a perfume shop in Bhatkal at the time,helped Fasih and the other youth find shelter at the home of one of his close friends.
The dispute that had led to the initial brawl was ultimately settled with the intervention of the college authorities,but Fasihs relationship with Yasin was cemented,and allegedly led to the creation of the IMs Darbhanga module. In Pictures: Yasin Bhatkal – The case file
Fasih,who otherwise was not that religious,became indebted to us,and insisted that we visit his native place for Eid, Yasin is learnt to have said.
Yasin has so far not provided much information regarding the involvement of Fasih in a terror plot. He is learnt to have only said that Fasih was part of a group that was engaged in religious discussions after college hours.
Yasin has,however,claimed that his friendship with Fasih was due to their common cause of jehad,which they discussed until late at night at the mosque next to the engineering college. He has said that he visited Darbhanga with two other youths from Bhatkal,travelling via Allahabad by train,and spending nearly a month in Bihar.
Initially we stayed at the house of Fasih in Darbhanga town,followed by his house in the village. Fasihs family was extremely hospitable, Yasin is learnt to have told interrogators,adding that the group also crossed the border to visit Nepal. Yasin allegedly brought back some clothes among other things from Darbhanga to sell in Bhatkal. He is believed to have told interrogators that as compared to the Muslim youth of Bhatkal,those of Bihar fell short in their passion and commitment towards Islam.
Yasin has also allegedly said that he met Gauhar Aziz Khomeni,a relative of Fasih,in Darbhanga. Khomeni was arrested by the police in 2011. According to police,it was Khomeni who put investigators on the trail of Fasih.
The Delhi Police have said Fasih was a motivator who visited India on five occasions between 2007 and 2011,four of those visits coinciding with a terror attack. According to the police,Yasin introduced Fasih to the Shahbandri (Bhatkal) brothers,Riyaz and Iqbal,who were then active members of SIMI. After completing his engineering course,Fasih allegedly went to Saudi Arabia,where Yasin,Riyaz and Iqbal kept in touch with him by email and webchatting,and gave him the task of being a motivator.