Nabbed IM operative was planning air attacks

Arrested IM operative Shehzad Ahmed is said to be the brain behind the air terror plan.

Zeenews Bureau

Lucknow: In a big breakthrough, Shehzad Ahmed thought to be the chief of Indian Mujahideen’s air terror module and a key accused in the 2008 Delhi blasts and the Batle House encounter was nabbed in Uttar Pradesh.

Shehzad was arrested, Monday afternoon, by a joint team of UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and Delhi Police from his native village in Azamgarh district.

As per reports, Shehzad had undergone pilot training in Bangalore and was planning to carry out aerial attacks on key installations. He was also actively involved in the regrouping the Indian Mujahideen following the death of key operative Atif Amin in the Batla House encounter and the arrest of Sadiq Sheikh. IM chief Riyaz Bhatkal is absconding.

Investigators claim that he was in constant touch with Mirza Shahdab Beg, another key IM operative, who is accused of planting the bomb at Sankatmochan Temple in Varanasi in 2006 that killed atleast 18 people.

Beg is also thought to be involved in every major terror attack on India since 2005.

As per Sehzad’s confession; besides the plan to carry out aerial attacks, the Indian Mujahideen had also planned to plant bombs in education centres during the counselling season in May-June. He also, reportedly, revealed that the IM had sent young men out of the country for terror training by packing them in containers.

The charge sheet filed against Shehzad says he had planted a bomb at Children`s Park near India Gate on September 13, 2008, which failed to explode. He is also on of the accused in the Ghaffar Market blast that took place the same day.

The police had recovered his passport at the Mujahideen hideout at L-18 Batla House. Shehzad was allegedly one of the two terrorists, who had fired back at the police during the raid that cost Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma his life.

Additional Director General (ADG) Law and Order Brij Lal said, "Delhi Police had set a prize money of Rs 5 lakh on Ahmed, the terrorist we arrested."

The police claimed that he was also involved in encounters that took place a few days after the blasts.

ADG Law and Order further said, "The breakthrough came on some specific tip-offs from the special cell of the Delhi Police."

"Shehzad was involved in arranging and planting of bombs at Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash, Tilak Marg and two places in Connaught Place and had managed to escape from Batla House when the police struck their suspected hideout there," he added.

The Delhi Police will present him before a Lucknow Court today and seek a transit remand as most of the cases against him are filed in the national capital.

The investigating officials are hoping that the information provided by Shehzad would help them in getting hold of the other remaining absconders.

With ANI inputs