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Who is Yasin Bhatkal? Nobody knows for sure

Last updated on: August 29, 2013 10:53 IST

Who is Yasin Bhatkal? Nobody knows for sure

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Vicky Nanjappa

Yasin Bhatkal, arguably India's MOST wanted terrorist after Dawood Ibrahim, was detained at the Indo-Nepal border on Thursday.

But who exactly is Yasin Bhatkal aka Zarar aka Dr Imran? Vicky Nanjappa tries to find out

In the last few days, a lot has been reported about how a goof up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad helped wanted fugitive and Indian Mujahideen commander Yasin Bhatkal slip off.

A largely behind-the-scene operative, Bhatkal is today on the watch list of the Interpol with a red corner alert issued against him.

On the wanted list, he is referred to as Zarar Ahmed Siddibaba. The police and the Intelligence Bureau too confirm this.

According to the look-out notice in his name, 28-years-old Siddibaba was born on January 15, 1983, in Bhatkal district of Karnataka and speaks English, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada. He is 5 foot 6 inches tall, sports a beard and is wanted in cases pertaining to terrorism, crimes involving the use of weapons, explosives.

In Bhatkal, there are various interpretations about Yasin. Firstly, they do not know him by the name Yasin and feel that the man that the police are referring to is Zarar Ahmed.

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Image: A police officer shows a recent photograph of Yasin Bhatkal


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They say that he has not been seen in Bhatkal for several years now and that he had left for Dubai to join his father in his garment business. However, they later parted ways.

There is another version, which says that he died fighting in Afghanistan while others say he may have gone astray and actually joined the Indian Mujahideen.

Yasin could possibly be one of the smartest operatives being chased by the police.

Today, he goes by the alias Shahrukh Khan -- the same alias which has been used by both Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. However, those who have dealt with him and have been questioned by the police say that he was more popularly known as Dr Imran to all of them.

Investigators feel that the reason why the father and son fell out in Dubai was largely due to the extremist views the latter had. He is said to have come in contact with some persons while in Dubai who encouraged him to take up jihad (holy war).

 

However, the police is still verifying this, as they believe it could be yet another ploy to divert them.

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Who is Yasin Bhatkal? Nobody knows for sure

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During his first stint in the IM, he was referred to as Ahmed by his friends. Later, he started using the alias Yasin. This was the time many believed that he was closely related to both Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.

However, between 2008 and 2011 when the IM re-grouped, he chose the alias Dr Imran and operated mostly out of Bihar. The likes of Jamali and Gafoor, who are being interrogated by the Delhi police, are said to have confirmed this fact.

During their interrogation they reportedly confessed that they were in contact with a certain Dr Imran and on being shown the photograph of Yasin, they confirmed this fact.

Another suspected IM operative, Gayur Ahmed Jamali who hails from Bihar says that he was introduced to Dr Imran two years back. Although Jamali had gone to meet Dr Imran for treatment, he was instead preached about holy war.

In course of time, they (Jamali and Dr Imran) became good friends. One day the duo decided to target the Zaveri Bazaar and Kabootar Khana localities of Mumbai. For this, they hired an apartment in Byculla and hired two men -- Waqas and Tabrez.

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Who is Yasin Bhatkal? Nobody knows for sure

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Yasin Bhatkal has often come very close to being nabbed, but has always managed to give the slip.

At first, he managed to fox the agencies with the various aliases that he went by and today it was the sheer lack of coordination between security agencies which ensured that he is on the run once again.

Although the Maharashtra ATS has been claiming that it has cracked the case, the fact is that the case is far from over. For starters, they have the wrong man in their custody.

Naquee Ahmed Sheikh is probably one of the biggest embarrassments. He was the man who could have led the police up to Yaseen. He did so to a large extent before he was picked up. In fact, he had also helped the Delhi Police and the IB get very close to Waqas and Tabrez -- the two bombers in the 13/7 attack.

It was Naquee, who had tipped off the Delhi Police and also the IB about how Yaseen was returning to meet his Byculla landlady to get a refund of his deposit. However, before Yaseen could land up there, the Maharashtra ATS picked up the landlady which alerted the three wanted men in this attack.

Today, the IB says that Yasin is very much in the country and there is little chance that he could have fled India.

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Image: (Right) Yaseen Bhatkal. (Left) The house in Byculla locality of Mumbai where Yaseen and other IM members planned and executed the 13/7 attacks


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