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Probe focus on Lashkar-IM

Patna, July 30: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing last year’s serial bomb blasts in Patna and Bodhgaya, is trying to ascertain the links of some Bihar-based Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives with those working in tandem with Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The NIA took alleged IM operative Haider Ali alias Black Beauty on remand yesterday for questioning in the wake of recent arrest of alleged Lakhkar-e-Toiba (LeT) motivator Abdul Subhan alias Tauqeer from Delhi. Subhan, in the course of interrogation, had revealed that he used to visit Bihar to indoctrinate youths for “jehad”.

An investigating officer said Haider, the alleged mastermind behind Patna and Bodhgaya blasts, was assigned the task to recruit youths from Bihar and Jharkhand for “Ranchi module” of the IM and also he played the role of the motivator. “So far, we don’t have evidence to establish direct links of the IM with the LeT operatives involved in carrying out terror strikes across the country,” the officer added.

The officer, also associated with the serial blasts probe, revealed that Haider’s interrogation would throw light on the links of the two militant groups. Haider, earlier associated with Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), also in constant touch with Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, who took command of the IM after the arrest of its co-founder Yasin Bhatkal from India-Nepal border in East Champaran district in 2013.

Haider is a native of Khiriawan village in Aurangabad district.

During Subhan’s interrogation, it came to the surface that one Tariq, a resident of Nalanda, was earlier arrested in February 2012 for motivating and “brainwashing” youths of the state to join the banned outfit. Tariq, an engineer by profession, had come in contact with Yasin Bhatkal during his stay in an engineering institute in Bhatkal district of Karnataka. Tariq is still lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

“All the three — Tahseen, Haider and Tariq — were initially associated with the Simi. After the arrest of some top-ranking operatives, the IM is making all out efforts to revive the Simi both in Bihar and Jharkhand, which, of late, have virtually turned out to be a breeding ground for the banned terror outfits,” the NIA official said, who did not wish to be named.

The NIA officer confided that after the arrest of top operatives, the agency has focused to smash sleeper cells in the two neighbouring states. “We have got some clues about the sleeper cells after the interrogation of Tahseen and Haider and efforts are on to neutralise them as early as possible,” he told The Telegraph.

The agency is all set to submit chargesheet against Haider and Tahseen, the prime accused in the serial bomb blasts in Patna and Bodhgaya, next month.


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