Zee Media Bureau
Bengaluru: Reports claimed on Thursday that co-founder Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal, who was recently arrested from the Indo-Nepal border, may have been replaced by the number two in the home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen.
IM is backed by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and reports said the agency may have already replaced Bhatkal with another Indian commander in its anti-India operation.
The most likely successor could have been second-in-command in the terror group, blamed for deadly blasts across top Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
It may be noted that IM co-founders and Yasin’s cousins – Riyaz Shahbandari and Iqbal Shahbandari alias Bhatkal – had escaped to Pakistan in 2008. However, Yasin chose to stay back in India in his bid to strengthen and expand IM’s base.
Bhatkal was arrested late last month after being on the run for over five years.
In February this year, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Yasin’s head.
In December 2011, Delhi Police had also announced a reward of Rs 15 lakh for any information leading to the arrest of Yasin in several terror cases, including three in Delhi.
Yasin, who hails from Bhatkal in Karnataka, co-founded IM in 2008. The IM was designated a terrorist group by the government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in June, 2010.
The banned outfit was declared by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 2011.
(With agency inputs)