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Probe hints at new terror module

Patna, March 26: Investigations show a new Indian Mujahideen module taking shape in south and central Bihar under the stewardship of Haider Ali alias Abdullah of Aurangabad’s Khiriyama village.

Sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) say Ali — wanted in connection with last year’s serial blasts in Bodhgaya and Patna — was assigned to recruit new members for the Indian Mujahideen’s (IM’s) Magadh module, which comprises Jehanabad, Arwal, Gaya and Aurangabad districts in south and central Bihar.

Mohammad Aslam Parvez, arrested from Arwal district earlier this month, was part of the new module.

It is believed Ali, who also writes his name as Hyder, helped Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu set up the outfit’s Ranchi module, which came to the fore after serial blasts in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on October 27, 2013.

Tahseen, a resident of Maniyarpur village in Samastipur district of north Bihar, inducted Ali into the outfit when the latter was studying in Jharkhand, an NIA officer told The Telegraph.

The officer, who didn’t wish to be named, said Ali was in constant touch with some members of the outlawed Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) of Magadh region.

“The Simi members are under the NIA’s surveillance. Ali, reportedly, learnt how to make bombs from Tahseen, who was made operational head of the terror group after the arrest of its co-founder Yasin Bhatkal from the Bihar-Nepal border last August,” he said.

NIA officials believe Ali had the potential to lead the group like Tahseen and Yasin.

“He may be handed over IM’s charge now that Tahseen has been arrested. Ali is the most sought-after IM member after Tahseen and Waqas, arrested from the India-Nepal border in Darjeeling (Bengal) and Ajmer (Rajasthan) respectively,” the investigating officer said.

Ali’s importance can be gauged from the fact that NIA has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on him.

Asked about the status of the Magadh module, the officer said: “The sleeper cell was operational and more members were likely to be recruited. But Imtiyaz Ansari’s arrest in the Patna blast case led to the busting of different modules, including the new ones in Magadh region.”

Tahseen, a dropout from a Darbhanga-based technical institute, had earlier played an important role in the formation of the Darbhanga module, which comprised Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Madhubani and Darbhanga districts.

One Gayur Ahmad Jamali, whom a Delhi police team nabbed from Darbhanga in 2011, introduced Tahseen to the Darbhanga module’s mentor, Yasin Bhatkal.

Tahseen was also introduced to another suspected militant, Qateel Siddiqui.

Both Yasin and Qateel were so impressed with Tahseen that the 18-year-old lad from a remote village of Samastipur district was formally inducted into the outfit in 2010. Subsequently, he was sent to Kathmandu in Nepal to receive Waqas, a Pakistani national, and Asadullah. Both Waqas and Asadullah were brought to Darbhanga where he met Yasin Bhatkal.

It was Tahseen’s passion for “jihad” that he got a prominent place in the organisation. In three-and-a-half years, he rose to become the outfit’s operational head.

Meanwhile, the NIA has stepped up operations to arrest three IM operatives — Numan Ansari, Taufeeq Ansari (both Sithio residents) and Mojibullah, a native of Chakla village in Ranchi (Jharkhand). The agency has announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh each for their arrest.