Suspected terrorists nabbed

Bangalore: A suspected Indian Mujahideen operative was arrested by city police in Bihar on Sunday in connection with the blast near the Chinnaswamy Stadium here in April 2010 injuring 15 persons. Mohammad Khafeel, an associate of Yasin Bhatkal, a top operative of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), was arrested at Darbhanga (Bihar), City Police Commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji told reporters here today.

Two low-intensity explosions near a packed Chinnaswamy cricket stadium less than an hour before an IPL match on April 17, 2010, had left 15 persons, including five security men injured. Mirji said police have also arrested here on Monday Syed Abdul Rehman alias Abdul Rehman (25) suspected to belong to the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Khafeel was produced before a local court in Ranchi (Jharkhand) and was in police custody for questioning. With this, the number of arrested in connection with the cricket stadium bomb blast case rose to seven.

Khafeel, a teacher in Al Ajari school in Darbhanga was preaching Jihad to young Muslims, Mirji said. He along with Yasin Bhatkal and other IM operatives Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Mohsin Choudhary and six others had hatched a conspiracy to carry out bomb blasts in important places in India including at Chinnaswamy stadium. During investigation it was revealed that Khafeel had provided a SIM card and mobile phone to Yasin Bhatkal, Mirji said. A small time criminal since childhood, Abdul Rehman allegedly provided lethal weapons to kill notorious dacoit Vikram and was arrested in that case and sent to jail in Bangalore, Mirji said.

While in prison, Rehman came in contact with Pakistani nationals Fahad and Afsar, belonging to the terrorist outfit Al-Badar (a sister outfit of LeT) and they initiated him into terrorism through video clippings and books and introduced him to Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders in Pakistan. Fahad and Afsar was later shifted to jail in Gulbarga in Karnataka. Rehman, was released on bail four months ago and was absconding since then.

During this period, he was in regular contact with LeT operatives in Pakistan and they sent him money to train Muslim youths to carry out bomb blasts in important places in Bangalore and also to kill leaders of various Hindu organisations. It also came to be known during investigation that the accused along with Fahad had hatched a plan to attack the police when Fahad was being taken from Gulbarga jail to a local court. Abdul Rehman has four cases of dacoity, murder and attempt to murder cases against him. "We are interrogating him to find out about his network which might be widespread", Mirji said.