How the police tracked and arrested IM founder Yasin Bhatkal
Here are some details of the six-month operation to nab the founder of the Indian Mujahideen.
The arrest of Indian Mujahideen commander Yasin Mohammad Ahmad Zarar Siddibapa is perhaps one of the biggest achievements for Indian security agencies this year. However, little is still known about how he was tracked down, caught and brought to India where he was finally arrested.
Here are six things you may not know about the arrest:
- While some reports stated that Bhatkal stayed away from using the telephone and internet to avoid being tracked, a report by the Hindu said that tracking of telephone calls following the Dilsukhnagar blasts in Hyderabad earlier this year had led the Intelligence Bureau to his location in Nepal. The wanted terror suspect had made calls to people in his hometown of Bhatkal, which were then traced to Nepal.
- In Nepal, Bhatkal was first spotted by a person associated with the Nepalese intelligence agency, the National Investigation Department, who in turn informed the Intelligence Bureau in India, reported DNA.
- The Intelligence Bureau in a joint operation with their Nepalese counterparts placed a team in Kathmandu which mapped Bhatkal's moves for weeks before moving in and nabbing him, said the report. An Indian Express report, however, claimed that the Nepalese authorities were kept in the dark since Bhatkal was suspected to have links with local politicians.
- The Hindustan Times quoted a senior home ministry official as saying that the informer had given information on Bhatkal's whereabouts and even a phone number that was passed on to the Nepal security forces. The information reportedly helped track him to the Pokhara house where he was staying.
- - Bhatkal allegedly frequently visited towns along the Indo-Nepal border and was even known as a 'doctor' because of his passable knowledge of Unani medicine, reported the Indian Express.
- When roaming in towns in Bihar, Bhatkal reportedly wore a burqa and was always accompanied by a group of people, who were believed to be providing him with security cover. He reportedly visited madrasas to recruit new members to the Indian Mujahideen, stated the report.
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The charge sheet was filed in July against five suspected operatives of IM for their alleged involvement in hatching a conspiracy to carry out terror strikes in the country.
According to a police official, at the age of around 19, Bhatkal alias Mohammed Ahmed Siddhibappa was an idler and used to frequent Anjuman Engineering College in Bhatkal town of north Karnataka.
NIA special judge IS Mehta also sent another Indian Mujahideen operative, Asadulla Akhtar alias Haddi, to a similar 12 days NIA custody.