Pune: In a major development in the German bakery blast case, investigating agencies have obtained information that the attack was the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen (IM).
The breakthrough came after the Pune German bakery blasts accused Salmaan alias Chhotu revealed the plot during interrogation. He has reportedly told the officials of the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Delhi police, that he had received a call from IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal, on the night of February 13, 2010. The blasts had taken place the same day.
According to the police, Salmaan is involved with the IM, and it was he who told them about the IM’s involvement with the Pune blasts.
“During interrogation, Salmaan told us that he had gone to Nepal in the month of January and had been staying there on a different identity. He also said that he was in touch with IM founders Amir Raza and Riyaz Bhatkal. He told the police that, on the day of the blast, he received a call from Riyaz at night,” said the official.
The official added that Riyaz had greeted Salmaan by saying, “Badhaai Ho”. “When Salmaan asked the reason for the congratulations, Riyaz asked him to switch on the TV and see the breaking news himself. Salmaan told us that when he turned on the TV, the news of the Pune blast was all over,” the officer said.
Few days ago Home Minister P Chidambaram had said that, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra has cracked the Pune German Bakery bomb blast case and is in the process of apprehending the accused.
“Pune case has been cracked. We are in the process of apprehending the accused and I am confident that they will be arrested soon,`` the Home Minister said in Rajya Sabha on the working of his Ministry.
Speaking about Salmaan, the officer said that Salmaan, born in 1992, was a resident of Kherwadi in Bandra (E). He was allegedly indoctrinated by his own elder brother Shahnawaz and Atif Amin (both of them were killed in the police encounter at the Batla House in Delhi in 2008) and was included in the IM when he was in his teens.
Salmaan was suspected to be involved in the serial bomb blasts in Gorakhpur on May 22, 2007, the blasts in Varanasi civil court on November 23, 2007, the May 13, 2008 bomb blasts in Jaipur, as well as the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, the police said.
“Salmaan was in Delhi at the time of the Batla House encounter. When he learnt about the death of his mentor Amin, he, along with Shahnawaz slipped out from Delhi. They then went to Sanjarpur in Uttar Pradesh and stayed in a room there for months,” said the officer.
Salmaan then moved to Nepal and got himself a fake Nepali passport, made on June 23, 2009 in the name of Mohammad Fahad Ansari.
“On February 28, Salmaan was apprehended at the Indo-Nepal border by the UP Special Task Force and handed over to the Delhi Police on March 6. Salmaan has provided a lot of information about the operations of the IM and its members,” the officer said.
With DNA inputs