Speculation rife on IM founder's death

Last Updated 12 January 2011, 18:14 IST

Chhota Rajan told a private television channel on Tuesday night that his aides have killed Riyaz Bhatkal in Karachi. There was no independent confirmation of the news.
 Bhatkal was allegedly shot by Chhota Rajan aides at Kareena market in Gulshan Iqbal area of Karachi on January 5. He died at Jiauddin Hospital, on bed number 18 of ward 222 , on January 6.

 Another person named Anwar, who is likely to be Riyaz’s associate, was killed on the spot, the ganglord has claimed. Riyaz was staying under assumed name of ‘Dilawar Iqbal’. One Abdul Aziz Bidani reportedly identified Riyaz and later claimed his body.
 Riyaz hails from Bhatkal village in Karnataka. He carries ‘Bhatkal’ as his surname, which brought infamy to that village. Anybody belonging to ‘Bhatkal’ was looked upon with suspicion by investigative agencies and security agencies.  He studied in Pune and was instrumental in founding IM, the homegrown terror group which has been blamed for cowardly terror strikes at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Bangalore  and even the latest Varanasi blasts.

 The ATS and crime branch, soon after the Ahmedabad blasts in 2008, arrested 27 members of IM and destroyed its module operating from Pune.

Riyaz and his brother Iqbal, who is also involved in terror activities, fled India and according to investigative agencies, were sheltered in Pakistan.

 His hiding in Pakistan was confirmed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) last year, when it tracked the call records of some of his associates and voice samples of Riyaz.
The calls were tracked  to be from  Karachi.

 From Karachi, Riyaz directed similar other attacks in Delhi and Jaipur.
He also helped conceive ‘Karachi Project,’ which was a joint terror plot by IM and Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to target India’s second rung cities.

(Published 12 January 2011, 18:14 IST)

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