Viqaruddin Ahmed, who was arrested in Hyderabad recently, is a prize catch not only for the Andhra Pradesh police but also for national security, if one is to go by his alleged confessions to his interrogators.
Hyderabad police officers have interrogated Ahmed for over a month now. In a confessional statement Ahmed has spoken about how he had planned a 26/11 style attack, apart from plots to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other Bharatiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders.
Ahmed allegedly confessed that he was planning a terror attack to avenge the Mecca Masjid blast of May 2007 after which many Muslim youth from Hyderabad were arrested and allegedly tortured.
While lawyers say a confession before the police is not admissible in court, the Hyderabad police will clearly use the information to enhance its case against Ahmed when they file a chargesheet against him.
Viqaruddin Ahmed was wanted in connection with three attacks on policemen since 2008 in which two policemen were killed.
The latest attack occurred on May 18 this year in which an armed reserve police constable was shot dead. Ahmed was arrested last month from the home of a doctor in Secunderabad on the basis of information provided by his brother Sulaiman.
Ahmed is alleged to have spoken of a 26/11 style attack which he had planned to undertake in December.
He allegedly told the police that he had travelled to Pakistan and Bangladesh where a 26/11 type attack plan was hatched by the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami. He returned to Hyderabad to raise funds for this attack.
A terror operation of that magnitude, Ahmed is alleged to have told his interrogators, needed at least Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million).
Interestingly, he is alleged to have confessed that he had raised Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) from Hyderabad city alone. He is alleged to have identified the individuals from whom he collected the money, but the Hyderabad police have kept those names under wraps lest it hamper the investigation.
The plan, according to Ahmed's confession, was to carry out a 26/11-like attack on Hyderabad on December 6, 2010, the 18th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. 'We were planning to procure AK-47 rifles for this operation,' he allegedly stated.
Viqar allegedly also told the police that he tried to assassinate Narendra Modi earlier this year when the Gujarat chief minister arrived to inaugurate the Ramol Chowk police station.
Ahmed secured entry to the venue in the guise of a reporter. A press card with the name Imran, designating him as a crime correspondent, and fake identity cards of some television channels have been seized from him.
Ahmed allegedly revealed he aborted the plan after he discovered a large number of security personnel had been deployed at the venue.
A source in the Hyderabad police, who has been interrogating Ahmed, told Rediff.com that they have recovered pen drives with the names of important BJP-RSS leaders from the alleged terrorist, giving rise to the fear that these leaders were on his hit-list.
Ahmed allegedly told the police that he was very close to Shahid Bilal, who the Hyderabad police accuse of masterminding several attacks in the city. Both men lived in the same area in Hyderabad and were in touch till Bilal fled to Bangladesh. Bilal, who is said to have been murdered in Pakistan, is said to be responsible for Ahmed's transformation from small-time goonda to alleged terrorist.
Bilal, Ahmed allegedly revealed, was so upset with the Mecca Masjid blast case and the manner on which the city's Muslim youth were being targeted and victimised that he planned and executed the twin blasts at Hyderabad's Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in August 2007, which killed over 40 people.