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IM operative Tehseen Akhtar sent to police custody

A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Indian Mujahideen commander Tehseen Akhtar in police remand till April 02.

Akhtar was produced here before a judge, who handed his custody to police.

Akhtar, the outlawed Indian Mujahideen’s current chief of Indian operations who is an expert in bomb-making, was arrested on Tuesday morning.

According to police sources, the Special Cell of Delhi Police told the court that they need to conduct a sustained custodial interrogation of the accused to unearth the entire terror conspiracy of the banned outfit.

Police also told the court that Akhtar was required to be confronted with one of his top associate Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, a Pakistani national who was arrested on March 22, and others who were also apprehended by them.

According to Delhi Police Special Commissioner SN Srivastava, 23-year-old Akhtar was formally arrested from near Kakarvitta on the Nepal border while he was entering India. He was coming from Kathmandu.

Akhtar, once a close aide and a protégé of arrested IM’s co-founder Ahmad Siddibappa Zarar alias Yasin Bhatkal, was wanted for a series of terrorist strikes in various states, including July 7, 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts and October 27, 2013 blasts in Patna.

Police officials have described the arrest as a major breakthrough in the war against the shadowy group.

Police sources earlier told that Akhtar, a resident of Samastipur in Bihar, was part of Indian Mujahideen’s plan to create mayhem during the staggered Lok Sabha polls starting April 7.

Investigators said Akhtar, the tech-savvy terrorist, was the prime motivator tasked with developing new modules for the outfit and had also become the vital link between the IM and other radical extremist groups emerging from the banned SIMI.

Akhtar was in constant touch with Pakistani national Waqas, who was arrested on Friday from Rajasthan also by the Delhi Police.

Akhtar was reportedly involved in bomb attacks in several places since 2010, the year he reportedly joined IM. The strikes include a blast at Varanasi’s Sheetla Ghat during the evening ‘aarti’, the 2011 serial blasts in Mumbai and the twin bombings in Hyderabad in 2013.
Srivastava told a news agency that Akhtar was the one who received Pakistani national Waqas at the Kathmandu airport in September 2010 and brought him to Delhi to carry out the Jama Masjid bomb attack.

Police sources believe Akhtar was being controlled by India Mujahideen’s absconding leader Riyaz Bhatkal, who is involved in several terror attacks in India.

Interrogation of Waqas revealed that Akhtar stayed with him at Munnar in Kerala from December 2013 till mid-January.

Srivastava said Akhtar’s next plan was to change his hideout from Kathmandu to another neighbouring country for which he entered Indian Territory.

“IM’s bosses had assured him to provide shelter for the time being. But, he was unlucky. As soon as he entered Kakarvitta region, he was arrested,” Srivastava said.

Akhtar was later brought to Delhi by a special plane.

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