Pune blast case cracked, 2 LeT men arrested

Pune blast case cracked, 2 LeT men arrested

Pune blast case cracked, 2 LeT men arrested

One of them was identified as Mirza Himayat Baig, 29, who is  believed to be the head of Maharashtra module of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He was arrested from Mahatma Gandhi bus stand in Pune on Tuesday afternoon, while his aide Shaikh Lalbaba Mohammed Hussain alias Bilal was nabbed from Subash Chandra Bose Marg in Nashik the same night.

Baig brought a terror module involved in Aurangabad arms haul case and the Indian Mujahideen (IM) together to carry out the bombing. He is also wanted in a case related to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The ATS also claimed to have recovered some explosives from the duo. “The first arrest was made from Mahatma Gandhi bus stand in Pune, He is involved in two previous cases. The case took us to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Daman and New Delhi,” ATS chief Rakesh Maria told a news conference here on Wednesday.

He said that the two suspects had been working for the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). “They had carried out recce of some sights for LeT. Himayat Baig is very important and is the LeT chief of Maharashtra, who brought Aurangabad module and Indian Mujahedeen (IM) module together. The conspiracy was hatched in January at Udgir in Latur district.”

“Himayat Baig used to run Global Internet Cafe in Udgir where explosives were brought, bombs made and some targets were decided. German Bakery was one of them,” Maria said.

The ATS also said that two more people were involved in planning the blast — Mohsin Choudhary and Mohammad Yasin. Both are untraceable as of now. “On January 31, Himayat conducted a recce of German Bakery and was also involved in planting the bomb with Mohmmad Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin. On February 3, Mohsin Choudhary, Yasin and Himayat met at Udgir. On February 7 Mohsin got explosives at the Internet cafe where the bomb was made. Mohsin and Yasin are wanted in the case. They were being controlled by somebody in LeT,” he added.

Baig and Bilal reportedly provided only the logistical support  for the February 13 blast in which at least 17 people were killed and 65 others injured.

Baig has been remanded in police custody till September 20. Mohammed Yasin is crucial to the investigation for more than one reason. He is from Bhatkal town in Karnataka, the hub of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, of which he is allegedly a leader.

Himayat Baig was working at a public library in Pune in 2004, when he met Akbar and Mohsin Chaudhary, brothers who belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Baig joined the LeT and climbed the ranks to become its state chief.

In 2006, Akbar Choudhary introduced him to a man from Bhatkal in Karnataka, Riyaz Shahbhadari, whose agenda was to create an Indian terrorist group consisting of middle-class recruits with no criminal past, who the police would find difficult to connect to the LeT.