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When Maha ATS almost had prime suspects in blast case

February 22, 2013 16:51 IST

A slip up by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad a year ago has proved to be a costly error for India’s security establishment. The primary suspects behind Thursday’s Hyderabad blasts -- Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal and operatives Tabrez and Waqas -- were staying under one roof in Mumbai. However, just minutes before the police could nab them they managed to slip out.  

A major hunt was launched for Yasin Bhatkal, Tabrez and Waqas after the 13/7 Mumbai blasts. It was the Delhi Police that had tipped off the Maharashtra ATS regarding their whereabouts in Mumbai.

Yasin, Tabrez and Waqas, who plotted the 13/7 blasts, had rented out an apartment in Byculla. During this period they met near a gym in Byculla where they planned the Mumbai operation.

As per the tip-off provided to the Maharashtra ATS, they were to return to their apartment 15 days after the blasts to collect their security deposit. This information was provided to the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police by an informer Naquee.

However, the Maharashtra ATS picked up Naquee mistaking him to be Yasin Bhatkal. The news of Naquee’s arrest tipped off Yasin and the others, who decided not to return to Byculla.

The impact of their escape has been immense. Not only have strong modules been set up by these persons, but they have also managed to carry out two blasts after their escape -- the Pune and Hyderabad blasts.

The Hyderabad incident clearly shows that the three are in the country and continue to plan attacks. The IB says that these three persons are crucial for the IM and as long as they are out, the outfit will remain strong.

Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad