Saudi Arabia deports ‘IM operative’ Fasih Mehmoodhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/saudi-arabia-deports-im-operative-fasih-mehmood/

Saudi Arabia deports ‘IM operative’ Fasih Mehmood

Terror: Third suspect to be deported by Riyadh after Abu Jundal in June,Rais in September

A suspected founding member of the Indian Mujahideen,Fasih Mehmood,who is wanted in connection with his alleged role in the 2010 Chinnaswamy Stadium bomb attack in Bangalore,was arrested by the Delhi Police Monday after he was deported by Saudi Arabia.

Fasih,28,was taken into custody by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police after he arrived at the IGI airport by a commercial flight from Riyadh around 8 am. The IT engineer,originally from Bihar,had been detained by Saudi authorities and was accompanied on the flight by Indian intelligence officers. Delhi Police suspects that he could be involved in the Jama Masjid terror attack as well and will question him about it,sources said.

Fasih is the third major terror suspect to be deported by Saudi Arabia to India in four months. Riyadh had handed over suspected 26/11 handler Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in June and A Rais,wanted by Kerala police for his alleged links with terror groups there,was brought to India last month. Indian officials said that these deportations highlighted the strong co-operation between the two countries to fight terrorism.

Home ministry sources said that Rais had fled to Saudi Arabia in 2009 using forged documents after his name cropped up in alleged terror plots in Kerala. He was brought to Mumbai and handed over to Kerala police.

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“Fasih’s deportation is excellent cooperation from Saudi Arabia,” Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters,adding that Riyadh had never refused to deport him as reported in sections of the media. “The country had only asked for some time for processing the Indian request.”

A Delhi Police source said that Fasih is suspected to have raised funds for Indian Mujahideen and is named as an accused in the Bangalore stadium blasts. “He had visited Bhatkal and along with others formed the Indian Mujahideen. Delhi Police will investigate him for being a member of a banned organization,” the source said.

Fasih is believed to have communicated with terror modules in India through “human couriers” and avoided using technology despite being an engineer as he feared he would be traced by the police.

Although suspected to be a key conspirator in all terror attacks blamed on the IM since 2005-06,Fasih is not known to have directly participated in any attack,sources said. They said the alleged Darbhanga module of IM – which was led by Qateel Siddiqui who was killed inside Pune’s Yerawada jail – directly reported to Fasih.

Besides,sources said Fasih’s name was also mentioned by two other suspected IM operatives,Tariq Anjum Hassan and Gauhar Ali Khomeini. Hassan,who was arrested by the Special Cell on February 2,is believed to have told police that an operative named Fasih was in charge of “fund-raising” and was a key operative of Indian Mujahideen. Hassan’s statement matched that of Khomeini,who had been arrested in November last year,police sources claimed.

Fasih has been booked under the Explosive Substances Act,the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to dealing in counterfeit currency.