Kolkata link to Gaya, B'lore, Pune blasts

Anwar Hossain Mullik is gradually emerging as the common thread to the blasts at Bodh Gaya, along with the ones that took place earlier in Bangalore and Pune.

The 42-year-old arrested in central Kolkata on July 6 could be the key to explosives supplied to all these blast sites.

Investigators from the Kolkata Police Special Task Force (STF) believe Mullik is involved with smuggling of explosives and fake currency along the Indo-Bangladesh border, and could have confessed to being a close associate of Yaseen Bhatkal, one of the founders and the operational chief of Indian Mujahideen (IM).

According to sources in the STF, Mullik had ferried explosives from his hometown in Nadia district of West Bengal to Kolkata where he passed on the consignments to Bhatkal on two occasions, the last was in early 2010.

Following preliminary interrogation, investigators believe that he had passed on the explosives to Bhatkal, mostly gelatin, which were then used for the blasts outside M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, in April 2010, and at Pune in February 2010 and August 2012.

While a senior police officer here informed that both the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the National Investigating Agency (NIA) agree that Bhatkal is IM’s operational chief, he still remains elusive.

“We have some information on his background, but the name we know him by is not real, just given by agencies because he hails from Bhatkal in northern Karnataka. Going by records of the Karnataka Police, it is Md Ahmed Sidibapa, but there is no confirmation,” the officer said.

Investigators also admitted that although Kolkata has never witnessed a blast, the city has always remained a point of regrouping, consultation and place to collect arms and money due to its proximity to Bangladesh.

“The gelatin sticks, detonators and fake currency seized from Mullik reveals how easy it is to get such deadly contraband from Bangladesh. There is a chance that he was in Kolkata for almost a week and supplied the explosives used at Bodh Gaya,” a senior officer said.

Sources said that the STF are in touch with officers from the IB, NIA and the Karnataka Police, sharing whatever intelligence inputs they gather from Bhatkal in the process of interrogating Mullik.

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