Patna, Aug. 30: A city of casinos and easy liquor that is known as the “Singapore of Nepal” is where the Indian Mujahideen plots its strikes on Indian soil, Yasin Bhatkal has apparently told interrogators.
Bihar police sources quoted the terror suspect as saying that Nepal’s tourist city of Pokhara had emerged as his organisation’s nerve centre as Kathmandu increasingly came under the glare of international intelligence agencies.
Pokhara is 210km from the spot near Raxaul in Bihar where Yasin was captured on Wednesday night along with aide Asadullah Akhtar and later questioned in Patna before being flown to Delhi today.
“Liquor flows like water in Pokhara,” a police officer said. “It is surrounded by mountains and has 20 to 25 casinos.”
It’s from this town that the Indian Mujahideen’s “brains trust” allegedly directs and controls all the organisation’s operations in India, including terror attacks, recruitment and the smuggling of fake currency into India.
Earlier, Kathmandu used to be the epicentre from where Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence carried out subversive activities in India.
“That base was shifted to Pokhara, a picturesque town with all modern facilities,” an officer quoted Yasin as saying.
The officer added: “The town is not only a safe hideout for Indian Mujahideen operatives but also for some notorious gangsters from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.”
Senior Bihar police officers who said they were present during Yasin’s questioning claimed the suspect had been in Pokhara for the past month and a half.
“He had left Pakistan after the Nawaz Sharif government came to power. He came to Nepal, travelled to Bangladesh, then returned to Nepal and decided to stay in Pokhara,” a senior officer said.
Yasin has allegedly told interrogators that Indian Mujahideen operatives sneak into India from Nepal through Sunauli in eastern Uttar Pradesh (close to Gorakhpur district) and Raxaul in Bihar.
“Since the border is porous and visas are not required, Indian Mujahideen operatives frequently visit Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The two border towns of Raxaul and Sunauli are connected by road and railway, which helps,” an officer said.
Two laptops, five mobile phones, three SIM cards of Nepal-based telecom companies, two fake Uttar Pradesh voter identity cards, and a fake driving licence have been seized from Yasin and Akhtar.