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'In the Indian Mujahideen everyone is Shah Rukh Khan'

Last updated on: January 18, 2012 14:52 IST

Investigators have discovered that Indian Mujahideen leaders use the alias 'Shah Rukh Khan' to confuse the police and keep their identities hidden.

Vicky Nanjappa reports.

It is an alias that works most effectively for the Indian Mujahideen.

'Shah Rukh Khan' is an alias used by Indian Mujhaideen leaders.

The name 'Shah Rukh Khan' was first attached to IM leader Riyaz Bhatkal, who the police say, is one of the terror outfit's founders.

During other meetings, the same alias was used by his brother Iqbal Bhatkal.

Today, IM operatives picked up by the Delhi police say Yaseen Bhatkal is 'Shah Rukh Khan.'

"Everybody is Shah Rukh Khan," a senior police officer told this correspondent.

It is an alias each IM leader has used. Lower-level operatives, who met with these men, never knew if they were meeting Riyaz, Yaseen or Iqbal. Each introduced themselves as 'Shah Rukh Khan.'

The 'Shah Rukh Khan' drama started with a meeting between IM operative T Nasir and Riyaz Bhatkal.

Nasir told the Bangalore police that he met with Riyaz at a railway station in Kerala. Riyaz, a big fan of movie superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who often dressed like him, introduced himself to Nasir as 'Shah Rukh Khan.'

Then came the confession of the recently arrested IM operative Mohammad Saif, who spoke of traveling to Udupi in Karnataka and collecting explosives from a man called 'Shah Rukh Khan.'

The Delhi police showed Saif Yaseen Bhatkal's photograph, which he recognised as the man he had met in Udupi.

Another statement came from a man named Akbar Ali, who was also introduced to a man called 'Shah Rukh Khan'; this time the man turned out to be Iqbal Bhatkal.

The police say Yaseen Bhatkal handled the Pune and Delhi modules while Riyaz handled Karnataka and Kerala. Iqbal was focused on the Hyderabad module. They only met with members of their modules.

Each introduced themselves as 'Shah Rukh Khan.'

Investigators say Riyaz, the Shah Rukh Khan fan, first used that alias. It was then decided the same alias would be used by all the IM leaders as it would confuse investigators and the police.

By the time the police discovered that Riyaz used the alias 'Shah Rukh Khan,' he had fled to Pakistan.

Meetings thereafter with a man named 'Shah Rukh Khan' were with Yaseen who is still in India. Whenever the police interrogated IM operatives, the name 'Shah Rukh Khan' popped up, which led to the confusion where Riyaz was based.

This helped Yaseen go about his terror business without discovery as he was not on investigators's radar until recently.

For more on the Indian Mujahideen, please check out Rediff Realtime News

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore