Alleged IM co-founder, aide arrested by Maharashtra ATS

Alleged IM co-founder, aide arrested by Maharashtra ATS

Alleged terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar were arrested here today by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in connection with the July 13, 2011 Mumbai terror attack case after being brought here from New Delhi.

Yesterday, a Delhi court presided over by District Judge I S Mehta had allowed the pleas of Maharashtra ATS which sought the custody of Bhatkal and Akhtar alias Tabrez in connection with the case, in which over 20 people were killed and 141 were injured, saying that their custodial interrogation was required to complete its probe.

With the arrest of these two accused, the total number of accused apprehended in the case rose to seven, the police said.

The accused would be produced before a court tomorrow, the police said.

Earlier, five accused namely Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija, Haroon Naik and Mohammed Qafeel Ansari were held in the case and are facing trial under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), IPC and other laws.

Those wanted in the case are Riyaz Bhatkal, who is also a top operative of the alleged home grown terror outfit, Waqas Ibrahim Sad, Dubai-based Muzaffar Kolah and Tehseen Akhtar Shaikh, the police said.

Three powerful blasts had ripped through crowded areas in Mumbai on the evening of July 13, 2011, killing at least 21 people and injuring 141. 

The first explosion had rocked Zaveri Bazar, a popular jewellery market, at 6.50 pm. A minute later, another blast shook the busy business area Opera House. A third blast ripped through the crowded Dadar area in Central Mumbai at 7.04 pm.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested Yasin Bhatkal, who is wanted in over 40 terror cases and carries a reward of Rs 35 lakh, as well as Akhtar, from the Indo-Nepal border on the night of August 28 last year.

Bhatkal, who hails from Bhatkal village of Udupi district in North Karnataka, is wanted in a string of terror attacks in Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad, the agency had said.

Thirty-year-old Bhatkal, who was earlier associated with banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), is suspected to have allegedly conspired along with others to "wage war against India". 

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