Faseeh Mahmood, an engineer from Dammam in Saudi Arabia, was brought to India on terror charges a couple of days ago. While his arrest is officially pending confirmation, sources say that this man, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar, is being questioned in connection with certain terror incidents undertaken by the Indian Mujahideen in the country.
Mahmood was arrested in Saudi Arabia and deported to India. A day after his deportation, his wife too was moved to India.
Mahmood's name is said to have sprung up during the interrogation of Kafeel Akthar who is currently in custody of the Bengaluru police for his alleged role in the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts in April, 2010.
The arrest of Akhtar in Bihar recently came in the spotlight after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar protested vehemently against the 'unlawful arrest' undertaken by the Karnataka police.
Meanwhile, police and intelligence officials consider Mahmood's arrest to be an important breakthrough. Although none of the agencies would like to come to any definitive conclusion regarding Mahmood, police sources say that they would continue to look for more leads in this case.
However, what some officials say that this arrest does prove that the IM still relies heavily on its Gulf network to carry out terror operations. The questioning of many IM operatives specific to the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts have told the police that all its funding came through a network in the Gulf.
Money continues to be wired in through networks such as hawala and the operatives do use it for their operations. In the recent few cases it has been found that the money was sent in from the Gulf and wired to an operator in Delhi who in turn passed on the money to top IM operative Yasin Bhatkal. The hawala operative was paid Rs 1.50 lakh for this operation, sources say.
A lot appears to be emerging from the investigations into the stadium blasts. It has had its roots not only in Bihar but has been linked to modules also based in Saudi Arabia.
Akthar's interrogation has led the police to some operatives who had provided the logistic details for the blasts.
The police will now try and ascertain what link Akthar had with Mahmood. It is being said both hailed from the same place in Bihar. Another link which the agencies are trying to look into is whether Mahmood had any link with Yasin Bhatkal. It is said that Mahmood pursued his higher studies from a college in Bhatkal, a coastal town in Karnataka.
His family has, however, reacted sharply to the arrest and swears that he has no links with any terror group.