The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is believed to have got new leads in the Bodhgaya serial blasts probe following the interrogation of Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal,and suspects that another IM operative,Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu,could be behind the July 7 attack.
The agency suspects Tahseen took the help of some SIMI sympathizers to execute the blasts at the world heritage site.
On Tuesday,the NIA got the remand of Manzar Imam,a SIMI ideologue and longtime associate of Tahseen,to ascertain the whereabouts of the operative who is now believed to be going by the name of Hassan. Imam had been arrested by the NIA in March for allegedly taking part in a terror training camp in Kerala in 2007.
After being taken on remand,he is said to have claimed that he had met Tahseen just a few minutes before he was arrested in Ranchi. He says Tahseen had dropped him near his house on his motorcycle minutes before he was arrested, said an officer.
Imam is also believed to have said that Tahseen was trying to recruit youth from Ranchi and other cities in Jharkhand. He was suspected to be in the Mangalore flat that was being used by Yasin and fled from there hours before the NIA raided it after Yasin was picked up in late September.
A resident of Samastipur in Bihar,Tahseen is believed to have been indoctrinated by Yasin and joined the IM in 2010. He is suspected of being involved in the 2010 Varanasi and 2011 Mumbai serial blasts.
Security agencies believe the Bodhgaya blasts were planned to avenge the killing of Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists in Myanmar. Ten bombs had been planted of which nine exploded and injured five people.
Investigators familiar with the electronic evidence seized from Yasin say that IM boss Riyaz was planning to attack Bodhgaya.
Yasin is also believed to have told investigators that Tahseen was directly reporting to Riyaz and the two used to chat over Nimbuzz and Yahoo messengers.
A few days before the Bodhgaya blasts,Tahseen had moved to an unknown location where he was planning to carry out an attack and Riyaz had asked Yasin to pray for the success of the operation,Yasin is believed to have claimed.
Yasin is also believed to have said that he had no knowledge of the attack and that he was in Nepal with fellow operative Asadullah when the blasts were triggered.