'Terrorist' Bhatkal flown to Delhi; cops fight for custody news
30 August 2013

Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged operations head of the Indian Mujahideen who was arrested in northern Bihar on Wednesday, was today flown to Delhi for trial by a special plane, along with his cohort Asadullah Akhtar.

Indian MujahidinAkhtar, an alleged planter of bombs in Indian Mujahideen, was arrested almost immediately after Bhatkal, who was among the 12 most wanted terrorists in India. The two were arrested close to the Nepal border.

Police from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka have lined up to interrogate him about terror attacks in their states.

The alleged chief of operations and co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, Bhatkal is accused of planning and executing some of the deadliest terror attacks in India in recent years, the most recent being the twin blasts in a crowded market in Hyderabad in February which killed 16 people and injured 80.

Police teams from Bangalore and Mumbai are already on their way to Delhi to seek custody of Bhatkal. They believe that he was the bomb-maker, recruiter and planner for the Indian Mujahideen, and can provide vital clues about terror networks in India and their funding, as well as about the IM's his outfit's links with other terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Bhatkal, 30, was produced in court in Motihari in north Bihar on Wednesday evening, his face covered with a black cloth and escorted by nearly 50 policemen and members of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in a bulletproof car.

He first said he had wrongly been identified, then accepted that he is Yasin Bhatkal. During questioning by the NIA, he reportedly appeared largely unfazed about the attacks he is accused of, and allegedly said, "Such things (bomb blasts) happen all the time ... there's nothing new about this."

Yasin is originally from Karnataka. A statement issued by his family on Thursday said it is relieved that he has been arrested because "now the truth can come out" and said "he should be punished if he is guilty of any offence after due process of law''.

His father told NDTV he still hoped the man arrested in north Bihar is not his son Ahmad Sidibappa, who went missing from Dubai seven years ago.

In 2010, intelligence officials said that he was captured on security cameras wearing a golf cap and leaving behind a bag with a bomb that exploded minutes later at the German bakery in Pune, killing 17 people.

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'Terrorist' Bhatkal flown to Delhi; cops fight for custody