Mumbai blasts probe: Cops turn on the heat for IM operatives
Four days after serial blasts rocked Mumbai and claimed 19 lives, security agencies and police teams probing the terror strike are yet to find any leads in the case. Several people have been detained across the country for questioning, but no arrests have been made.
Investigators are also focusing on Indian Mujahideen operatives currently lodged in jail. But some of them have been behind bars since 1994 and they may not be able to provide much information.
The terror strike could have been triggered from outside India, say sources, and this makes the job of the probe team even harder.
Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa
'Dr Bomb' being questioned
Though the IM is operating under a new name -- Bullet 313 brigade -- the operatives remain the same.
A team of the National Investigation Agency and the Intelligence Bureau are currently questioning one Jalees Ansari, also known as 'Dr Bomb', who is lodged in an Ajmer jail.
While they have found no links between him and the latest terror strike, he is being questioned about terror modules operating in Maharashtra as he had orchestrated an operation there.
According to sources, Ansari today regrets his earlier actions and feels that terrorism ends up hurting everyone, specially the Muslim community.
Suspected IM operative arrested in Bihar
In spite of his remorseful statements, police believe that he may be in touch with some elements in Pakistan, as he was found with SIM cards that were used to make calls to the neighbouring nation and Gulf countries.
Ansari, believe investigators, may be responsible for several blasts across the country. He had developed a terror network to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid; the police fear that some of the youth recruited by him may still be active.
The police are also focussing on Riazul, a suspected IM operative arrested in Bihar on Sunday. Investigators believe that he is a low-ranking cadre, but they are trying to find out if he has more information about the Mumbai blasts.
Police teams visit Nepal, Bhatkal
A police team has also traveled to Bhatkal in Karnataka, which was once the hometown of two dreaded terrorists -- brothers Riyaz and Iqbal. They are questioning the locals about the whereabouts of the brothers, said a source in the Intelligence Bureau.
Security agencies are also trying to find out if the blasts could have been triggered from a foreign nation. This could turn out to be a difficult task, as at least 20 operatives of the Indian Mujahideen have taken shelter in the UAE and Pakistan.
A police team visited Nepal on Saturday to track down IM operative Abdus Subhan, say sources.
Other IM operatives the police is looking out for include Baba Sajid ( believed to be hiding in Karachi, Asadullah Akthar (UAE), Dr Shahnawaz (UAE), Iqbal Bhatkal ( Karachi), Riyaz Bhatkal (Karachi) among others.