The Indian Mujahideen, which has been suspected of carrying out the Hyderabad blasts that claimed 16 lives, was trying to set up a terror outfit to take care of its operations in southern India, according to officials in the National Investigation Agency.
NIA officials have found that one of the key accused, Asadullah Akthar alias Tabrez, was constantly in touch with operatives from south India.
The IM was trying to set up a dedicated module for Hyderabad, like the ones the terror outfit is running in Darabanga and Azamgarh, called the Deccan Mujahideen.
The Deccan Mujahideen came to the limelight after the 26/11 terror strike on Mumbai, when a mail claiming responsibility for the attack was sent out by the group. Investigators later found that the mail was sent by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to mislead the probe.
A local module in south India will fill the vacuum created in the hierarchy of terror by the death of Harkat-ul-Jihadi operative Shahid Bilal and the arrest of fellow terrorist Riazuddin Nasir.
Imran, a terror operative based in Rae Bareily who was arrested by the police, had admitted during interrogation that the IM was trying to strengthen its module in south India.
Tabrez, an important cog in the IM’s wheel, was entrusted with the task of setting up the Deccan Mujahideen. Leaders of the terror outfit wanted to capitalise on the volatile situation in Hyderabad.
The IM had contacted Syed Maqbool, who has been accused of conducting a reconnaissance of Dilsuknagar area to finalise it as the blast site.
Maqbool, who hails from Nanded, has spent a considerable time in Hyderabad. During his stay, he got acquainted with Ali Bhai and Firoze Khan, both of whom are currently serving life sentences at the Nellore jail.
Both of them have been convicted for their links to the underworld and for helping agents of the Inter Services Intelligence in Andhra Pradesh.
The NIA is trying to figure out what transpired when Maqbool met Ali Bhai and Firoze Khan at the Nellore prison in January 2012. The
NIA officials believe that Maqbool had asked for some contacts who could help him collect funds and plan logistics for the southern module.
The agency also found that that the Deccan Mujahideen had planned a spate of attacks in Andhra Pradesh to target government offices and hydro projects.
“Our team will visit Bihar and interrogate some of the suspects to find clues in the Hyderabad blasts case,” said the NIA official.