IM operatives were planning to target major tourist spots

Updated - November 16, 2021 06:46 pm IST

Published - March 27, 2014 09:58 am IST - NEW DELHI

Interrogation of the arrested Indian Mujahideen members has revealed that for the purpose of indoctrination they were shown documentaries and videos on Gujarat and other communal riots during their training. The arrested members were part of the Rajasthan module that was set up for avenging the Bharatpur riots and the Muzaffarnagar riots in the year 2013, police sources here said.

Tehsin Akhtar alias Monu, who was flown to Delhi late on Tuesday night, told the investigators that they were motivated on communal lines and any riot which took place in the country was shown to them as a motivation to take revenge in the name of Jihad.

Monu also told the investigators that they were planning to target temples and tourists spots at some of the popular destinations in some parts of North India and Rajasthan and had also done a reccee for the same.

Special Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, S. N. Shrivastava said: “Monu had done a reccee of major tourist places including Agra, Jodhpur, Gopalgarh and Bharatpur and was planning an attack at these places.”

When asked whether they wanted to target Taj Mahal, the police replied in the negative saying they just wanted to blow up all the crowded places in Agra and Rajasthan, since these were regarded as renowned tourist places, especially by foreigners.

Monu, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar, landed in the police net from Kakarvitta on the Indo-Nepal border while he was attempting to flee. He was acting as the chief of IM,s India operations following the arrest of his predecessor Yasin Bhatkal. His name had cropped up in a series of terrorist strikes throughout the nation.

As for last year’s Patna serial blasts, a source close to the investigators revealed that it was the sole operation of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The blasts had targeted BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally. The involvement of IM in these is being ruled out by the officers saying NIA is the agency which is probing the Patna blasts.

The Special Cell, however, said that every single claim of Monu is subject to thorough investigation.

“He said the Patna serial blasts were essentially a SIMI work. He was in contact with them but was not involved in the bombings. However, we don’t agree with him and we are investigating to see how much he was involved,” said a source.

The reason why police don’t take his claim on face value is because he was the key link between IM and other splinter terror outfits which have emerged from the umbrella of SIMI.

After carrying out the Mumbai serial blasts at Opera House and Zaveri Bazar in July 2011, Monu he fled to Darbhanga where he met Haider, known to intelligence agencies as ‘Black Beauty’ – a key member of SIMI’s Ranchi module, said the police.

“Monu met Black Beauty twice, first in Darbhanga and then in Patna. The duo then went to Ranchi and stayed together at a rented accommodation,” said the police.

During Monu’s interrogation, it has also emerged that it was he who had given Rs. 1 lakh and a mobile phone to Zahida, the wife of Yasin Bhatkal, at her Shaheen Bagh residence in Delhi in August last year at the behest of Riyaz Bhatkal.

“He collected Rs. 1.30 lakh from Mumbai, which Riyaz had sent him through hawala. Out of this, he gave Rs. 1 lakh to Zahida along with a mobile phone. It was through phone calls made via this mobile to Yasin Bhatkal that his whereabouts in Nepal were revealed and he was arrested a couple of days later on August 29, 2013,” said the police.

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