Varanasi: Dr Shahnawaz, Bhatkal brothers emerge as main suspects
Preliminary investigations have shown the actual muscle to carry on the blasts was provided by Dr Shahnawaz, the brother of IM foot soldier Mohammed Saif who was arrested in the Batla House encounter in September 19, 2008.
In that encounter, a week after the Delhi blasts, the then IM commander Atiq Amin was killed and Saif arrested. Dr Shahnawaz, who is both in Dubai and Pakistan now, took charge thereafter. A Pakistan-trained mujahideen, Shahnawz is in regular touch with the Bhatkal brothers, sources said.
He is also involved in the Delhi, Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts. It was widely expected that the IM terror modules that operated out of Azamgarh had been wiped out after the Batla encounter. But that is not so.
Preliminary investigations point at IM members based in the Sanjarpur-Saraimeer-Phulpur area of the Azamgarh district, just 100 kilometres from Varanasi. Dr Shahnawaz along with aides Khalid, Abu Rashid and Bada Sajid or Mohammed Sajid had fled to Nepal after the Batla House encounter. This former physician in Lucknow Hospital is purportedly now in both Dubai and Pakistan. All four now hold Nepalese passports
Meanwhile, the email in which the banned terrorist group, Indian Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the bomb blast in Varanasi originated from the suburb Vashi in Navi Mumbai. The email which was shot to several media houses minutes after the blast was sent through an unsecured WiFi connection of the Airtel broadband, official sources have said.
Varanasi: Dr Shahnawaz, Bhatkal brothers emerge as main suspects
The Indian Mujahideen module had hacked into a broadband Internet connection of a Navi Mumbai resident. Police sources said the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) that was used to send the five-page email was traced to a house in sector 17, Vashi in Navi Mumbai.
The house owner's insecure WiFi was hacked into, the sources said, adding the logger of the router has been disabled so there no trace of who logged into it and hacked it. A father-son duo were picked up for questioning in connection with the email that claimed responsibility for yesterday's blast at a crowded ghat in Varanasi which killed an infant and injured 37 others.
The two were questioned and later released. Earlier, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal has said the police of Navi Mumbai and Mumbai were coordinating to trace the culprits. Terrorists of Indian Mujahideen have been using unsecured WiFi connections to send mails to media houses within minutes of blasts taking place.
The email ID used was of gmail. The mail was written on December 6 and the account has been accessed rarely, the sources said. For the first time, the email was not area specific. All others had talked about the place where blasts would occur.
Varanasi: Dr Shahnawaz, Bhatkal brothers emerge as main suspects
The email modus operandi, sources said, was used in Ahmedabad and the Delhi serial blasts in 2008 with Mumbai chosen by IM commander Iqbal Bhatkal as the place from where emails would be sent. This also points to the fact that IM modules are still active in Mumbai and have not been uprooted after the Batla House encounter.
The device, sources said, was wrapped in polythene and kept in a crack of the stairs leading to Sheetla Ghat. While the chemical examination of the debris is still not complete, it appears prima facie to be a fertliser-based charge with low intensity output. But the device was powerful enough to blast the rock triggering a shower of stones that sped out like missiles.
Top intelligence officials believe more such devices could have been planted at different places and the email was prepared beforehand. As the email is dated December 6, 2010, the terrorists could have tried to plant the device on the Babri Masjid anniversary but may not have been able to do so because security at the ghat was high that day.
The Indian Mujahideen (IM) claimed to have carried out the Varanasi bomb blast as revenge for what it called the "biased" Babri Masjid verdict, as mentioned in the email.
Source: Agencies