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Bhatkal wanted 1,000 people dead in every blast: Accomplices

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | January 05, 2009 15:10 IST

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Even as the hunt for Riyaz Bhatkal, who is said to have co-founded the Indian Mujahideen [Images] continues, two of his accomplices have revealed that the dreaded terrorist wanted 1,000 people dead in every bomb blast that occurred in the country.

Syed Mohammed Naushad, 25, and Ahamed Bawa, 33, who were taken into custody by the Surat [Images] police after being arrested by the Mangalore police, have revealed during their interrogation that Bhatkal was a key Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] operative in south India and was aware of all its operations.

Bhatkal, who has so far eluded the police, had planned the Hyderabad blasts and also the attacks in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

He was livid that his plan for serial blasts in the diamond hub of Surat flopped because of faulty circuitry, Bawa and Naushad revealed in custody.

Naushad, an engineering student from Mangalore, revealed that Bhatkal had stayed with him in 2003. 'My house had become a meeting spot for operatives from Mumbai [Images], Gujarat and Karnataka. We met regularly and discussed bomb-making and how to carry out operations in different parts of the country,' Naushad reportedly told his interrogators.

Bhatkal was an expert at assembling bombs, Naushad revealed, who explained that the terrorist stuffed ammonium nitrate into U-shaped wooden containers. Later, he drilled holes and fixed detonators which were then followed by the circuits and batteries.

'We learnt the art of bomb-making from Riyaz,' Naushad told the police, admitting that his group had assembled the bombs for both the Bengalaru and Surat operations. All the bombs were set to explode 47 hours later, he further revealed.

When the Bengaluru blasts failed to make an impact and when the bombs in Surat failed to detonate, 'Riyaz screamed at me,' Naushad told his interrogators. '"Why did it mission fail?" he asked. "Look what you have done. Thanks to you so many people survived."'

Intelligence inputs suggest that Bhatkal may have played a role in the Mumbai attacks. Investigators suspect he could have helped raise funds for the terror strikes, familiar as he was with terror funding and disbursal.

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