On the run for 10 years, IM co-founder arrested

Delhi police say they have arrested 'most-wanted' terrorist Abdul Subhan Qureshi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

The Delhi Police on Saturday night arrested 46-year-old Abdul Subhan Qureshi, alleged co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operative, who had been on the run for the last 10 years.

Qureshi was allegedly the mastermind of the 2008 Gujarat serial blasts.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah claimed that he was apprehended in East Delhi’s Gazipur where he had come to meet an associate.

Nabbed after gun-fight

“We had information that he’d come to the Paper Market. After a brief exchange of fire, he was nabbed around 8.15 p.m.,” he said.

According to police, Qureshi, who had a reward of ₹4 lakh on his arrest announced by the National Investigation Agency, had plans to revive the Indian Mujahideen and SIMI for which he was raising funds and meeting associates.

“He had gone to Saudi Arabia to meet the other founder of IM Riyaz Bhatkal to arrange finances and revive IM in India,” said Mr. Kushwah.

The police said that after the arrest of SIMI chief Safdar Nagori in 2008, Qureshi took the lead and plotted the 2008 Gujarat blasts which left 57 dead and several injured.

In July 2006, his name also figured in the investigation of the Mumbai train blasts.

His involvement is also suspected in the 2001 Gujarat case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, two cases in Karnataka under the Explosive Substances Act in 2008, and organising a training camp in Kerala in 2008.

After 2008, Qureshi allegedly moved to Nepal via Ranchi and Raxaul where he was living till 2015 in the guise of an English teacher at a private school.

Mr. Kushwah said that in Nepal he met a man identified as Nizam Khan, who was allegedly a SIMI sympathiser, but did not reveal his identity. With Khan’s help, he got a passport in the name of Abdul Rehman as resident of Nepal.

In February 2015, he allegedly went to Saudi Arabia and met Bhatkal to discuss their plans. “In Saudi Arabia, he worked as a salesman as a cover and met several SIMI and IM sympathisers,” the DCP said.

It’s a multi-State terrorism trail

Abdul Subhan Qureshi, alleged co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, who was arrested on Saturday, quit a well-paying job in 2001, allegedly writing to his employer that he was resigning to get involved in religious matters — a claim that is yet to be verified, sources said.

There was no looking back ever since as his name appeared in several investigations of terror activities.

According to an NIA chargesheet filed in 2011, Qureshi and 29 other alleged SIMI activists were accused of organising a secret training camp in Wagamon of Kerala in December 2007 for three days, where they allegedly taught firing and making of petrol bombs and conducted classes on “Jihad In India”.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) P.S. Kushwah said that owing to his language skills, Qureshi is the suspected signatory of IM threat letters and e-mails. The police, who called him a ‘Phantom’ of SIMI and IM, said that after SIMI was banned in September 2001, he moved his base to Karnataka where he allegedly met the Bhatkal brothers and later founded the Indian Mujahideen.

A senior police officer said that Qureshi’s arrest is probably the final nail in the coffin for the Indian Mujahideen’s operations in India.

After graduating in 1995, he bagged a private job in Fort Mumbai. But around 1994, he is suspected to have started attending SIMI meetings.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 1:00:10 PM |

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