The Delhi Police, it seems, are determined to highlight lapses on part of the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
After shocking the Mumbai Police and state ATS with the claim that the recently arrested Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and Pakistani national, Jia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas Ibrahim Saad alias Ahmed, was in Mumbai a few days before his arrest in Rajasthan, the Delhi Police have said it's no surprise that the two agencies missed him. And the reason given for it is that the photo of Waqas released by the Maharashtra Police doesn't resemble him at all, thereby making it easy for him to travel through the state and country.
"Asadullah alias Haddi, who we caught last year, had told us during interrogation that he and Waqas were involved in the JM Road blasts in Pune. He told us that while he was using the alias Ahmed, Waqas was using the alias Shakir. We then showed Haddi the photo of Waqas issued by a counter-terrorism agency and he said that wasn't Waqas," Delhi Police special cell chief SN Srivastava told dna on Tuesday.
"Waqas looks very different from the photo issued. He hasn't photographed himself since he has been in India."
Police sources also said it was very difficult to recognise Waqas from the CCTV footage procured from the Zaveri Bazaar blast site. "With no clear CCTV footage and a morphed photograph, it wasn't much of a problem for Waqas to travel from one place to another. Waqas had stayed in a Bandra lodge for a few days before boarding a train to Ajmer. In Mumbai, he didn't met anyone from his terror module," said a Delhi Police officer.
Waqas, who hails from Mustafabad in the Punjab province of Pakistan, is the son of a farmer. His great-grandfather had migrated from Amritsar to Pakistan, the police said. "Waqas has always had radical thoughts; his parents could never control him. In 2009, he met one Taj Mohammad from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who arranged for a 21-day terror training programme for him in Naushera, Pakistan," the officer said.
He added that Waqas not satisfied with the training as he wanted to learn more about assembling explosives. "He also didn't like the treatment meted out to him by the LeT men because he was a Deobandi and they belonged to the Ahl-e-Hadis sect. In early 2010, he came in contact with one Abdur Rehman of Jaish-e-Mohammad, who arranged a 25-day physical and religious training on how to make circuits and bomb for Waqas in Waziristan on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border," said another Delhi Police officer.
He added that after the training, Rehman ordered Waqas to do "action" against India. Waqas was asked to stay in a hotel in Karachi where he would be contacted by "someone". That someone was Riyaz Bhatkal, IM co-founder.
"Riyaz gave Waqas 50,000 Pakistani rupees and told him to go to Kathmandu. He reached Kathmandu on September 3, 2010, aboard Pakistan International Airlines. Interestingly, Haddi was on the same flight but they didn't know each other then," the officer said.
On reaching Kathmandu, Waqas called Riyaz, who gave him a mobile phone number. "It was of Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, also a planter in the 13/7 case. Monu, who was in Kathmandu, received them and the three entered India via Darbhanga, Bihar," the officer said.