IM acting chief held in Bengal

IM acting chief held in Bengal

The police on Tuesday said they have arrested Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, the acting chief of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) in India, from the Naxalbari area in Darjeeling.

Akhtar is suspected of masterminding a series of blasts in India from 2010 to 2013 as well as the recent blasts at a Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna.

According to a senior police officer in the special cell of the Delhi Police, Akhtar was nabbed at about 10:30 am on Tuesday from Panitanki village near the Nepal border.

Two days ago, four IM members, including expert bomb maker Waqas, were held from Rajasthan. The police were searching for Akhtar for months. Special Commissioner of Police S N Shrivastava said Waqas and other the suspects’ interrogation provided vital clues and a specific tip-off which led to Akhtar’s arrest.

Waqas and Akhtar are alleged to have worked together in carrying out several terror attacks, including the ones at Varanasi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Like Waqas, Akhtar is suspected to have once been a close aide and protégé of arrested IM leader Yasin Bhatkal, working closely with him since 2010. After Bhatkal’s arrest, he led the IM operations in India and formed several modules.

The police described Akhtar as “IM’s India operations chief”, the “man behind several modules of the outfit” and a “vital link between IM and SIMI” . Shrivastava said Akhtar would be interrogated after he is brought to Delhi by Tuesday night and the revelations of four other suspects will be cross-checked with him. His possible role in the Patna blasts will also be investigated.

The police believe Akhtar kept shifting base between India and Nepal since late December last year. “He had entered Naxalbari area only about two days ago after staying in Nepal for a few weeks. He was in a hurry to shift base after Waqas’ arrest,” said Shrivastava.

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