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Blast trail leads to ‘friendly’ doctor

Ranchi, May 22: The Patna blasts trail led to a young doctor being questioned by the NIA and police today after Bihar’s Black Beauty Haider Ali (26), accused of engineering the explosions at Narendra Modi’s rally on October 27 last year, confessed to “staying often” with the medico at his private hostel room in the capital’s Bariatu.

A joint team of the NIA, Ranchi police and Intelligence Bureau raided Idris Medical Hostel, barely 200m from the state’s biggest hospital Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Bariatu between 1am and 2am today, after Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Haider confessed to his unlikely friendship with the “sober” Dr Azaz Hashmi.

Twenty-six-year-old Hashmi stayed alone at a ground floor unit of the two-storey medical hostel. The room yielded a sizeable cache of detonators, steel elbows, fuse wires, codex, timers, electronic watches and maps.

A couple of pen drives and a laptop were also seized, though it is not clear whom they belong to. “I can’t reveal much about the seizure made from the hostel room. But I can say that bomb-making materials were seized in good quantity,” Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar told The Telegraph.

Intelligence sources claimed Haider having confessed a part of consignment meant for Patna serial blast was kept at the hostel.

Police sources said that Hashmi, who apparently did his MBBS from Aligarh University, was detained for questioning till 9am at the JAP guesthouse in Doranda and then let off.

The NIA is tight-lipped on whether Hashmi, the son of a professor based in Maithon, Dhanbad, is also an IM recruit or a middle-class sympathiser or someone who simply happened to make a wrong friend in Haider.

Hashmi had joined the Abdur Razzaque Memorial Weavers’ Hospital (Apollo hospitals group) at Irba in Ranchi in February this year, Apollo’s medical superintendent P.D. Sinha confirmed. He is also an intern at RIMS, sources said.

Hashmi was also preparing for his PG entrance for higher medical studies.

Haider, whose educational background is not known, was introduced to Hashmi by a youth called Shoaib Akhtar, a resident of Sattar Colony in Bariatu, some years back.

Not much is known about Shoaib at this point.

But the fact that Haider trusted Hashmi enough to stay often at his hostel room and use his cupboard to stock up on explosives proves this was no ordinary friendship.

Though Hashmi said he had no idea what the wires and timers, seized from his room, were used for, police sources said this was tough to swallow.

Top intelligence sources said during interrogation last night, Haider revealed at least five places in Ranchi which he used as hideouts, including Hashmi’s hostel.

Furthermore, Haider told interrogators that he wanted to shift explosives to Palamau, but could not fearing arrest.

The Haider-Hashmi friendship also bared IM’s modus operandi of relying on a vast network of youths.

Haider, along with IM suspects Muzibullah Ansari, Numan Ansari and a 16-year-old were arrested yesterday, the first two from Ranchi’s Khadgarha terminus and the other two from a Palamau guesthouse.

Muzibullah, who pretended to be a UPSC aspirant even to his parents, and stayed at Iram Lodge, a students’ hostel in Hindpiri, used his room as a conduit for IM meetings. Last year, the NIA recovered explosives and other bomb making materials from Iram Lodge.

Idris Medical Hostel, run by a minority welfare committee, is second private lodge in Ranchi that figured as a suspected terror hideout.

The hostel is barely 500m away from homes of two top IM suspects — Manzar Imam and Danish Riyaz — who were arrested earlier.

This evening, the NIA team also reached the Doranda residence of retired DSP (Bihar police) Imran Hasan in search of clues of Patna serial blast. However, the house was found locked.

It was during a religious function held at the residence of Hasan when Imtiyaz Ansari, who is among those accused in the Patna serial blast and who was arrested on the same day from Patna station, had first met the alleged IM operatives from Bihar such as Tahseen Akthar, alias Monu, and Haider.

Imtiyaz, a youth of Sithio on Ranchi outskirts, proved instrumental in recruiting other younger boys such as Numan and the 16-year-old, who happens to be his nephew. Imtiyaz also inducted Enul, who died due to injuries sustained while handling bombs.