TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Pune bakery blast suspect arrested

Calcutta, July 2: A Bangladeshi national who had allegedly ferried explosives used in the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune, in which four youngsters from Calcutta had died, was arrested from the railway station in Cossipore this evening.

Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Zahid, 27, had allegedly entered India early today. “He took a local train from Bongaon (75km from Calcutta) and reached Sealdah station this afternoon. We found him at Kolkata station later,” a senior officer of the special task force (STF) of Calcutta police said.

Sources said four armed policemen arrested Zahid from a platform. The man initially denied being Zahid, but is said to have revealed his identity later.

“During interrogation, Zahid confessed to supplying explosives to the IM operatives three days before the blast. He handed over the consignment and left the country for Bangladesh through Bihar and Nepal,” an STF officer said tonight.

The blast at German Bakery on February 13, 2010, killed 17 persons, including the Calcuttans and five foreigners.

Siblings Ankik Dhar, 24, and Anindyee Dhar, 19, from Salt Lake, their friend Shilpa Goenka, 22, and Rajeev Agarwala from north Calcutta were among the victims.

The bomb had been placed under a table close to where Ankik, Anindyee and Shilpa were seated.

On April 18, 2013, a Pune sessions court handed the death sentence to Mirza Himayat Beg, a cyber cafe owner from Udgir in Beed. The chargesheet had named Yasin Bhatkal, his cousins Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, Mohsin Choudhary, Lashkar operative Faiyaz Kagzi, and Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.

Jundal was later arrested in connection with the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in Calcutta in December 2009 on the suspicion of involvement in a fake-currency racket and spent a month in jail here, but the police failed to recognise him.

He pretended to be Mohammad Asraf, a purported resident of Darbhanga in Bihar. Bhatkal was charged with theft and given bail. He walked out of Alipore jail in late January 2010, and disappeared.

Bhatkal is said to be the man who planted the bomb at German Bakery days later. He was later arrested near the India-Nepal border in Bihar in August last year.

Zahid, who was nabbed in Calcutta today, is said to be close to the Bhatkal brothers — Riyaz and Iqbal.

According to preliminary investigations by the STF, Zahid belongs to the Darbhanga module of the IM. “Many IM modules have been disbanded but this module, headquartered in Bihar, works with recruits from the eastern states,” a police officer said.

“Many top IM leaders are behind bars. So Zahid might be key to knowing about the possible regrouping of the terrorists,” the officer added.

The Calcutta STF apparently came to know about Zahid after they arrested a suspected associate in Nadia. “We also had a tip-off from a central agency that arrested another IM operative from Bihar a month ago,” the officer said.