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Tracking Indian Mujahideen's blood trail

Last updated on: April 12, 2009 00:21 IST

The role played by the Indian Mujahideen in various terror strikes in India is only getting bigger and bigger. The name of the organisation was first heard after the court blasts at Uttar Pradesh when an E-mail claiming responsibility for the attacks was sent out.

Investigations, which have been conducted on the basis of various confessional statements of Indian Mujahideen operatives, have revealed that the dreaded outfit -- an offshoot of the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Asif Raza Commando Force -- had undertaken blasts at Varanasi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Surat.

Let us see what each of the accused had said in their confession:

Abdul Sattar: This man, hailing from Kerala, was picked up by the Bengaluru police for his alleged role in the Bengaluru and Surat blasts. In his statement, he said that orders to carry out the blasts came from Riyaz Bhatkal (Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative) and Abdul Subhan (the techie who is considered to be instrumental in setting up SIMI's tech wing).

For the Bengaluru operation, the code word was Tomato work. He said they were recruited into the Indian Mujahideen by Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal and were trained in Kerala. He further reveals that the IM and the LeT had close links with each other and together they had readied at least 180 men to wage a war in Kashmir. Sattar further revealed that they had prepared the bombs for the Bengaluru and Surat operations. The task was personally monitored by Bhatkal.

Riazuddin Nasir: This LeT operative, an important personality in the IM, originally hails from Hyderabad. He took the terror path after his friend was killed in a police shoot out following the Mecca Masjid incident and also after his father Maulana Nasirudin was arrested by the Gujarat police.

He told investigators that the Indian Mujahideen was born after the heat was turned on SIMI. All operatives, including him, met at Hubli in Karnataka and were taught how to make bombs. Once the bombs were made, they were taken to different locations in the country. The brief was to be prepared and ready to strike when they get instructions. He added that his specific brief was to target Goa.

Sadiq Shaikh: A key operative of the IM, Sadiq played a role in the Varanasi and Mumbai bombings. After undergoing training in Pakistan, Sadiq was told by Riyaz Bhatkal to take part in the Gujarat blasts, but he backed out since his father was unwell. He was then told to recruit people into the IM to carry out more strikes in the country.

Naushad and Ahmed Bawa: The two IM operatives arrested for their role in the Surat blasts confessed that it was Bhatkal, who ordered them to carry out the blasts. We were taught by Bhatkal how to make bombs, the duo told investigators, adding, we played a part in both Bengaluru and Surat blasts.

However, Bhatkal told the duo that both the operations were a failure. Prior to the attacks they were told that they needed to hit back at the atrocities meted out in the aftermath of the Mecca Masjid incident. They were also told to undertake the twin blasts in Hyderabad and were that they needed to kill at least 1,000 people.

Mansoor Peerbhoy: The techie face of the IM, Peerbhoy confessed that he sent out the E-mails before each blast in the country. I was trained in Hyderabad and it was Riyaz Bhatkal's statements on the Mecca Masjid incident, which inspired me to tread the terror path, he said.

I was paid Rs 70,000 to get trained and also visited United States to pick up sophisticated equipment so that I could hack into networks, he told investigators, adding, I decided to set up my own network since it was risky using cyber cafes. All mails that were sent out prior to the blasts were dictated by Bhatkal.

Anik Sayeed: Another techie face of the IM, he confessed to helping in creating fake identification cards for IM operatives. All the fake ID cards were created by him with the help of matrimonial sites. He used to pick photographs of prospective grooms on these sites and use photoshop software to create fake identification cards.

Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad