Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Yasin Bhatkal stirred a hornet’s nest with his statement to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) that Mirza Himayat Baig, 32 — convicted in the 2010 German Bakery blast — was not involved in the terror attack and that he had nothing to do with the incident in Pune. Anti-terrorism experts say by making such a statement, Bhatkal is following the al Qaeda manual and waylaying investigators.
dna accessed the interrogation reports of Baig and two of his associates. It was found that they were part of a well-knit terror network headed by IM founders Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.
According to Baig’s statement, in 2004 Fayyaz Kagzi formed his own module. The module included Baig, Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal and others. The group came to be known as the Beed module. Kagzi — believed to be holed up in the Middle East — headed it.
Baig also met Riyaz and Iqbal in early 2005 in the Bhatkal town of coastal Karnataka.
According to Baig’s confession, Riyaz and Iqbal said they were ideologically close to Mullah Omar and Maulana Masood Azhar. However, the Beed module was busted by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad during the Aurangabad arms haul case.
Kagzi fled to the Middle East. Ansari entered Bangladesh and moved to Pakistan. Baig’s statement reveals that after the Aurangabad arms haul case, he was given Rs200 and asked to leave Beed. But he remained in Beed for a few days more. Then he visited Bhatkal and stayed with Iqbal for more than a month.
Then, Baig took up a job as a labourer in a garage in Pune. Baig said he was in touch with Kagzi and Ansari throughout 2006. The two were working for the LeT in Pakistan.
According to Baig, they used to chat on the Internet and he was introduced to one Abu Khalid, a senior LeT operative. Following this, Khalid handled the entire operations of the group which included Fayyaz, Ansari and Baig. Khalid gave Baig the responsibility of hiring fresh people for ‘jihad’. According to Baig, in 2008, Khalid arranged to send 600 euros to him. Kagzi was then sent to Colombo.
On his return, Baig influenced Lalbaba Mohd Shaikh alias Bilal, 27, to join the LeT. Bilal, in his statement, has confirmed that Baig influenced and asked him to go to Qatar, and then to Pakistan. After completing training in Pakistan in 2008 and 2009, Bilal returned to India in 2010. According to his statement, Khalid asked him to settle down in Maharashtra and scout for terror targets. In August 2010, Bilal met Baig in Latur and discussed about his terror training in Pakistan. After meeting Baig, Bilal returned to Nashik and was arrested by the ATS in September, 2010, for his alleged involvement in plans to to engineer blasts in the Maharashtra police academy in Nashik, and the Deolali military camp.
An anti-terror expert said the confessions clearly indicate that Baig is an integral part of the terror network.