The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, the mastermind of terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), is being seen as a major breakthrough in terror cases. Speaking to dna, Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria says it will help the agency to burst the IM modules in the state.
How significant is Yasin Bhatkal as a catch for you?
He is certainly a big catch. It is a tremendous detection from the central agencies and all kudos to them. His interrogation will not only reveal about his plans, but will also throw light about his mentors and associates such as Bhatkal brothers and Amir Reza. His custodial interrogation will also reveal more about the hawala network that IM uses.
How important was Yasin to Indian Mujhahideen and do you think his arrest is a big blow to the outfit?
Ever since Bhatkal brothers fled the country, it was Yasin who was calling the shots in India. He was the man who used to do planning, select targets, assemble explosives, recruit men and indoctrinate them. He was certainly an important functionary of the IM and his arrest is a major blow to the outfit.
After the operation to nab 13/7 planters Asadulla alias Waqas at Byculla became unsuccessful, did we lost hope to get hold of the culprits?
We pursued each and every person involved in the case till the last. As far as Yasin is concerned, our teams were constantly on the lookout for him in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
Did Abu Jundal reveal us anything about Yasin?
Abu Jundal had spoken about Riyaz Bhatkal, but he never said anything about Yasin.
Do we have enough evidence against Yasin in the cases we are investigating?
We have enough eyewitnesses, technical evidences, CCTV camera footage that captured image of Yasin while placing explosives in German Bakery. We will now match DNA samples found from Habib Manzil with that of Yasin once he is in our custody.
By when we are expecting to get Yasin’s custody?
We will be taking a transfer warrant from concerned court to get his custody. Our ATS team will also be going to interrogate him as and when he is brought to Delhi.