Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: Indian Mujahideen co-founder and mastermind of several blasts, Yasin Bhatkal, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency from the Indo-Nepal border.
Confirming the arrest on Thursday, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Bhatkal was arrested yesterday night from the Indo-Nepal border. Shinde said that Bhatkal was currently under the custody of Bihar Police.
The Home Minister added that a DNA test would be conducted to conclusively ascertain Yasin Bhatkal’s identity.
Another IM leader Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi was reportedly picked up along with 30-year-old Bhatkal.
Bhatkal, whose real name is Ahmed Siddibappa, was one of the most wanted men in India as he is believed to be the backbone of the IM network. Operating under various aliases - Mohammad Zarrar, Ahmed, Imran, Asif and Shahrukh – Bhatkal was the only IM founder member who was operating in the country.
A native of Bhatkal town near Mangalore in Karnataka, he along with his cousins Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal had formed the IM. Both Riyaz and Iqbal are said to be hold up in Pakistan.
Riyaz Bhatkal is believed to have played an active part in almost all terror attacks by the IM including the Hyderabad, Banglore and Pune blasts. Infact, he was caught on the CCTV camera of the German Bakery in Pune when he personally went there to plant the bomb.
In Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed the arrest. Bhatkal carried a reward of Rs 10 lakhs for his arrest.
As per reports, intelligence agencies got his trail during the probe into the serial blasts at Mahabodhi temple in Gaya last month. Some other reports suggested that Bhatkal was arrested based on the informations provided by arrested Lashkar-e-Toiba bomb maker Abdul Karim Tunda.