Arrested terrorist Yasin Bhatkal is reported to have told his interrogators he was living in Nepal for the past six months and had readied around 100 hardcore associates who could do anything at his bidding.
Bhatkal and his close associate Asadullah Akhtar were on Friday remanded in 12-day police custody by a Delhi court after the National Investigation Agency brought them from Bihar where they were arrested on Thursday at the Indo-Nepal border.
As Indian intelligence agencies mounted their surveillance in the hunt for Bhatkal, sending Rs one lakh home as an 'eidi' (gift) to his wife before the Eid festival early this month perhaps proved to be his undoing and gave away the Nepal hideout of one of India's most wanted terrorists.
The transfer of money done through normal banking channels alerted sleuths of Intelligence Bureau whose suspicions were aroused on the possible plans by the co-founder of the banned Indian Mujahideen to enter India to indulge in terror attacks or flee from Nepal's Pokhra area.
Known as a ghost bomber, Yasin, who managed to give the slip to the police after the terror attacks in which he was involved, told his interrogators that the money sent to his wife in India was meant for expenses for Eid festivities on August 9.
Sources privy to the probe said Bhatkal told interrogators he was living in Nepal for the past six months and had readied around 100 hardcore associates who could do anything on his orders.
Yasin also told them he used to frequently change residences in Nepal where he treated Muslims as a Unani doctor.
The sources said Yasin got angry on some occasions during interrogation. Yasin and his associate were remorseless in acknowledging that they carried out bomb blasts to 'send a message', according to Motihari Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar. Yasin is wanted in around 40 terror cases.
“Bomb blast karta hu message dene ke liye (I carry out bomb blasts to send a message)," Yasin was quoted as saying by Kumar, who played a key role in the arrest of the two top IM operatives.
Kumar told PTI the two men expressed no remorse for triggering blasts that killed a large number of people in different cities. Yasin is also reported to have said he had expertise in making improvised explosive devices.