Calcutta, July 3: A Bangladeshi national was arrested from Kolkata station last evening and identified by police as the man who had allegedly ferried the explosives used in the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune.
Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Zahid, 27, had allegedly entered India early on Wednesday morning. “He took a local train from Bongaon (75km from Calcutta) and reached Sealdah station on Wednesday afternoon. But we found him at Kolkata station later in the day,” said a senior officer of the special task force (STF) of Calcutta police, which made the arrest.
Sources said four armed but plainclothes cops arrested Zahid after a police source identified him while he was standing on a platform.
The man initially denied being Zahid but he is said to have revealed his true identity later.
Several armed policemen were deployed around the station during the operation, the source added.
“In the course of interrogation, Zahid has confessed supplying explosives to the IM operatives three days before the German Bakery blast. He handed the consignment and left the country for Bangaldesh through Bihar and Nepal,” an STF officer said tonight.
German Bakery blast on February 13, 2010, killed 17 people, including four young 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 17 killed.
The bomb was placed under a table where Ankik, Anindyee and Shilpa, friends from school, were seated.
They were celebrating Ankik's promotion at JP Morgan Stanley. Ankik was an IIT Kharagpur alumnus while Anindyee was a student at Pune's Fergusson College. Shilpa worked with the Mumbai office of Japanese company Nomura. At a table nearby, Rajeev was seated with classmates from Symbiosis Law School.
On April 18, 2013, a Pune sessions court handed the death sentence to the Mirza Himayat Beg, a cyber cafe owner from Udgir in Beed. The chargesheet named Yasin Bhatkal, his cousins Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, Mohsin Choudhary, Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Faiyaz Kagzi, and Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.
Jundal was later arrested in the Mumbai attacks case as the Indian handler of the 10 Pakistani gunmen.
Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in Calcutta in December 2009 on suspicion of involvement in a fake-currency racket and spent a month in jail here, but the police could not recognise him. He pretended to be Mohammad Asraf, a purported resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, and carried a voter ID with that name. Bhatkal was charged with petty theft and later obtained bail. He walked out of Alipore Central Jail in late January 2010, and disappeared. Yasin is said to be the man who planted the bomb in German Bakery days later.
Zahid, who was arrested 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 of the IM modules have been disbanded but this module, headquartered in Bihar, works with recruits from the eastern states,” an officer said.
The police are not certain about what his destination was this time.
“Many of the top IM leaders are now behind the bars. So Zahid might be key to know about the possible regrouping of the terrorists,” the officer added.
STF Calcutta apparently came to know about Zahid after they arrested an alleged associate in Nadia. “Plus, we also had a tip-off from a central agency that arrested another IM operative from Bihar about a month ago,” the officer said.