NEW DELHI/JAIPUR: Four top Indian Mujahideen terrorists have been arrested by the Delhi Police special cell from Rajasthan.
The identity of the four is not clear as of now but sources said that IM top commander Waqas was one of those arrested. At least two of them are engineering students from Rajasthan. One of them belongs to Sawaimadhopur, highly placed sources said. Some explosive items were also recovered from their possession.
24-year-old Waqas, sources said, is a Pakistani who came to India for the first time in September 2010, along with Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi who was arrested with Yasin Bhatkal.
An expert in making electrical circuits for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Waqas has played an active role in the Jama Masjid shootout (September, 2010), Varanasi bomb blast (December, 2010), Mumbai serial blasts (July, 2011), Pune blasts (August, 2012) and Hyderabad twin blasts in February last year.
Sources said that the arrests have foiled a conspiracy of carrying out blasts in the state ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Sources also said that the terrorists had BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi on their radar. The IM terrorists were targeting some tourist spots, a royal train and some other places in the state, especially in western Rajasthan including Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer.
Raids were carried out in Jhotwara’s Sanjay Nagar locality and Pratap Nagar’s sector-35. Teams of Delhi police were in touch with Jaipur police since Saturday. In Jodhpur, the police arrested one terror suspect, while another one is believed to have escaped.
Sources said that the arrests in Pratap Nagar were made without any resistance. The two engineering students living in a rented accommodation were woken up from their sleep and taken into custody.
“Some explosive items were also recovered from their possession. Interrogation with the suspects is going on, but it seems that they were tipped off by any of the arrested IM terrorists including Yasin Bhatkal, one of the founders of IM who was arrested in August last year,” said a source.
The arrests have come in the wake of some revelations made by the National Investigation Agency in its chargesheet filed against Bhatkal in February. The security and intelligence agencies had sounded an alert in Rajasthan after the NIA chargesheet revealed that the terror outfit was using the state as its base.
The chargesheet filed in New Delhi recently against the Indian Mujahideen’s co-founder Yaseen Bhatkal revealed that IM is recruiting people to spread its network in the state. These members have allegedly been tasked to carry out terrorist activities in the country. They are in close contact with Riyaz Bhatkal who is allegedly hiding in Karachi, the NIA chargesheet says.
Terror outfit had attempted putting in place a local module on the border of Jodhpur-Nagaur district. One of IM’s alleged terrorist Mohammad Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu had visited Jaipur and Jodhpur in June last year and had procured SIM cards on fake documents.
Akhtar, a native of Samastipur district in Bihar, is suspected to have gained some local sympathizers but the efforts to set up a module lost steam after the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, one of the founders of IM, in August last year.
After the IM’s activities were found in the state, the Rajasthan ATS had intensified search for three IM terrorists.
Posters of these terror suspects, Mohammed Taseen Akhtar, Haider Ali and Waqas alias Javed Mohammad, were splashed in these cities and nearby areas by the ATS in December last year requesting people to remain on alert and inform the police if they spot any of them. A reward of Rs 10 lakh had been announced on each of them by NIA.
Delhi Police will now submit its report to MHA, requesting to beef up the security apparatus of Narendra Modi during campaigning. The Gujarat CM has Z plus security but there have been attempts to target him during the Patna rally last October.