Thirty-year-old Ahmed Zarar Mohammad Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, a 10th class pass-out, having some knowledge about Unani medicines, became one of India’s most wanted in a few years.
Security agencies claimed that it was Yasin who pulled the strings of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) ever since its co-founders and his brothers – Riyaz and Iqbal – fled India in 2008. Security agencies are elated that Yasin is a big catch. Officials hope he would throw more light on the functioning, structure and other details of IM
Yasin alias Shahrukh alias Imran alias Shivanand alias Wasim was born on January 15, 1983, in Magdoom Colony area of Bhatkal, Karnataka.
After completing school, he joined religious studies and was later indoctrinated by Riyaz and Iqbal in Bhatkal.
Yasin’s father, who ran a grocery shop in Dubai, learned about his son’s proximity to hardline elements and took him to Dubai in 2005. But Yasin, who was completely fascinated by fundamentalism, returned to India a year later.
Yasin reached his brothers again and started organising Darz (religious discourses) in Bhatkal.
He then travelled to Pune and set up base at Kamaldeep Society and Ashoka Mews with Pune module members.
While he was in Ashoka Mews, Yasin assembled explosives for the 2008 explosions in Ahmedabad and Surat, police sources said.
Yasin brought the explosives from Udipi and Ullal areas of Karnataka. Yasin took the explosives to Gujarat in a state transport bus.
IM module members know Yasin as a very hot-tempered person. “The group had planted bombs at various locations in Ahmedabad. Once when Yasin was supposed to plant a bomb in a garden, a watchman spotted him. A furious Yasin was about to pull out a gun, but was stopped by Riyaz as it would have jeopardised their operation,” said a police officer who is investigating the IM cases in Maharashtra.
“It was Yasin whose idea it was to plant bombs on trees around hospital buildings in Gujarat so that the impact of the injuries would be immense,” he said.
“After the Bhatkal brothers fled the country in 2008, Yasin was completely in charge of IM. His main job was to recruit youths, indoctrinate them, make bombs and plan attacks.
Yasin received terror training in Pakistan in 2006.
“Haroon Rashid Naik, an accused in the 13/7 blast case, had confessed during interrogation that he met Yasin in Pakistan,” said another police officer. “Yasin’s interrogation will throw more light about the other modules of IM in Maharashtra and across the country. He is certainly a big catch,” said additional
director general of police, ATS, Rakesh Maria.
“It is a significant success in the fight against terror. We are going to request for his custody so that we can prosecute him in the cases being investigated by the Mumbai crime branch,” said joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy.
“Yasin’s arrest is a big success for intelligence agencies.
He was wanted in eight cases that includes terrorist attacks in Mumbai and Pune’s German Bakery blast. The state ATS has started the process of seeking his custody to probe these cases,” said Maharashtra home minister RR Patil.