Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN | Feb 28, 2014, 01.59AM IST
KOLKATA: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that Kolkata has been an important hub for the activities of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM). Days after the Indian operations head Yasin Bhatkal’s role in the city was exposed, NIA claims to possess a confession from his trusted man Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi.
In his confession, Haddi has said that the American Center attack and the kidnapping of Khadim’s boss in Kolkata were part of a bigger plan. Haddi admitted before a magistrate in Miyapur, Andhra Pradesh, that in 1999-2000, Aftab Ansari started the IM (called Asif’s Commando Force then) with Asif Rezza Khan, a resident of Kolkata, who died in an encounter in 2002. Haddi also said that his people attacked the American Center in Kolkata in 2002.
Haddi added that he got arms training and learnt how to make explosives at a training camp conducted by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). He also admitted his role in various blasts, including the 2013 Dilsukhnagar blasts in Hyderabad. This confession is an important element of the chargesheet filed by the NIA in a Delhi court.
“Haddi and Bhatkal had revealed that the ‘Bihar module’ was the first thing to come up under the leadership of Yasin Bhatkal and Mohammad Tariq Anjum Hasan. Kolkata acted as a base for this module. However, since this module was more ideologically inclined, other modules in Pune, Beed in Maharashtra and Azamgarh in UP, were in charge of executing terror attacks across the country till 2008. It was only when these modules were either eliminated or busted, that the IM fell back on its recruits from Samitipur-Darbhanga and Nalanda,” a top source said.
“By 2003, Aamir Rezza Khan, Asif’s brother and the brain behind the American Center attack in Kolkata, got his entire group ready. Aamir knew that part of the money earned by kidnapping Khadim’s owner Partha Roy Burman had to be delivered to a 26/11 bomber Mohammad Atta in a European country. Aamir had floated the idea of IM and wanted dedicated cadres. The six founder members of IM were Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Aamir Rezza Khan, Tariq and Fasih Mohammad. Fasih was in charge of the group’s accounts. Tariq told his interrogators that Fasih was a major fund raiser from the Middle East and was part of the core team that used to be informed prior to the strikes,” Haddi told the NIA.
“The Babri Masjid demolition and atrocities on Muslims hurt me much more and that is why I wanted to join the Indian Mujahideen (sic),” he said. “…Accordingly, I joined the IM in order to protect the rights of Muslims, as we are powerless,” Haddi said in his confession.
Haddi, who was arrested in August 2013 near the Indo-Nepal border, is accused of various terror strikes in India.