Footprints all over

NationAhmedabad residents and blast victims demonstrate after the arrest on Thursday. Javed Raja
Yasin Bhatkal's arrest has led to police of many states saying they will seek his custody. Here is why:

Maharashtra

Yasin Bhatkal is wanted in at least eight cases in Maharashtra, of which four involve blasts or terror conspiracies. He is named as a wanted accused in the Mumbai blasts of July 13, 2011, as the bomb-planter in the 2010 blast at Pune's German Bakery, where he was seen in CCTV footage, and as an accused in an aborted attempt (by Qateel Siddiqui, since dead) at planting a bomb at a temple in Pune. In August 2012, the state ATS named Yasin a wanted accused for a conspiracy to carry out blasts across the state.

He is also wanted in connection with a fake SIM card racket, the theft of two motorbikes for the 13/7 blasts, and will also be booked for the theft of cars from Navi Mumbai that were used to plant bombs in Ahmedabad and Surat.

"The ATS has begun the process of seeking his custody. The team has left for Delhi," Home Minister R R Patil said. "We will take a transfer warrant. Our team will go to Delhi," added Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria. According to the 13/7 chargesheet, Yasin played a prominent role in selecting members. The chargesheet claims Bhatkal used to indoctrinate them with stories of atrocities on Muslims. He allegedly raised Rs 10 lakh after getting in touch with hawala operator Kawalnayan Pathrija.

German Bakery

In Pune, the ATS says video footage shows Bhatkal in a cap, carrying a haversack and was the "bomb planter". But Himayat Baig of Beed, the only person so far arrested, has denied knowing Yasin.

As per the chargesheet, Yasin and Mohsin Choudhry, under instructions of Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, had met Baig in Udgir to finalise their plan in January 2010, and again in February. Yasin and Mohsin assembled the bomb at Global Internet Cafe at Udgir between 1 am and 5 pm on February 7. Baig and Yasin allegedly carried the explosives to Pune in a series of vehicles. "Yasin planted the bomb in a haversack at the bakery around 5 pm and triggered it with the help of a mobile triggering device at 6.50 pm," the chargesheet says. Baig has been sentenced to death and has appealed in High Court. Meanwhile, after taking over the investigation, the NIA submitted an application seeking the CCTV footage allegedly showing Yasin Bhatkal.

Ahmedabad

Bhatkal, wanted for the Ahmedabad serial blasts of 2008, had arrived two years ahead of the attacks and activated sleeper cells through local help, according to what arrested SIMI leader Safdar Nagori has reportedly told the Ahmedabad crime branch. Yasin met 18 youths of Gujarat whom he eventually hired, besides aranging for the explosives, according to Nagori, said to be Yasin's "right hand man" in Ahmedabad. The Bhatkal brothers had allegedly funded the blasts. "The boys were trained in terror training camps at Halol in Panchmahal and Waghmon forests in Kerala," Nagori has reportedly told the police. Mohammed Abrar, said to be a networker between IM modules, has reportedly told the police that Yasin travelled to jails across the country. "The serial blasts in Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi and Pune were executed on the basis of information gathered from those in jails," Abrar said.

Surat

Bhatkal stayed there for a few days in 2008 and allegedly planted 29 live ammonium nitrate-fuel oil bombs. The bombs were discovered and defused the day after the Ahmedabad blasts. A police officer said, "Prior to planting these bombs in Surat city, Yasin had come to Surat with five others, and they stayed here in a rented house in Ved road near Industrial estate. Yasin lived under assumed names and they tried to contact many youths through whom they could get local support." Tanveer Pathan and Zahir Patel, among those arrested, have identified Yasin's photograph. " Yasin and Iqbal Bhatkal reportedly posed as brothers, identifying themselves as Chhotabhai and Badabhai.

Darbhanga

Bhatkal made two trips to Darbhanga. In 2007 he began as a "business networking agent" and introduced himself as Shaukat. In less than a month, he allegedly moved from village to village to build a "network" in Muslim-dominated villages of Darbhanga, Samastipur and Madhubani to woo youths to join the IM. He came back towards the end of 2008, this time as Dr Imran, a part-time unani practitioner as well as a non-banking company's area manager. He travelled between Rahamganj, Maulaganj and Barh Samaila villages. It was then that he allegedly got in touch with a number of Madhubani youths under police custody now. "He used to travel in a black luxury vehicle with a Maharashtra number. The vehicle has several lights, giving the impression of a VIP vehicle," said Sanjay Kumar, a journalist. Police sources said he also visited Madhubani town to meet a "girlfriend" from Badla village of Nepal. Once NIA arrested Ghayur Ahmed Jamali in 2011, Yasin stayed out of Madhubani and Darbhanga and worked through local contacts.

Kolkata

Yasin Bhatkal's name features in a FIR lodged with the Kolkata police in which one Anwar Mullick, 42, was arrested from a bus stop on July 7. This is apart from the case in which Bhatkal was arrested in 2009 and allowed to go. From that case, Kolkata officers said, they have provided fingerprint inputs that helped establish Bhatkal's identity following his arrest.

The arrest of Mullick reportedly unearthed an IM network supplying explosives for since 2010. Mullick had supplied explosives to Bhatkal since 2010, according to Mullik's alleged confession. He allegedly says Bhatkal frequently visited Kolkata to procure explosives ingredients through contacts. He was also known to be scouting for young recruits. An STF had lodged an FIR against Bhatkal as he was said to have been handed over around 8 kg of explosives by Mullick.

Kolkata police say they will seek custody of Bhatkal.

Delhi

The Delhi police special cell will seek custody of Bhatkal. In January 2011, the Delhi police had declared a reward of Rs 15 lakh for him and named him an accused in three cases. According to a profile prepared by the Delhi police, he had gone underground in 2006 but resurfaced in 2008 during the time of Delhi blasts. One of the accused in the blasts, Mohammed Saif, had said he had procured the explosives from Bhatkal.

Hyderabad

Yasin Bhatkal was allegedly involved in the twin bomb blasts at Dilsukhnagar on February 21 this year, and those at Gokul Chat Bhandar and Lumbini Park in 2007. The AP anti-terror agency Octopus had filed three chargesheets in May and June 2009, named Yasin and the Bhatkal brothers. The NIA, which is investigating the 2013 blasts, is believed to have procured CCTV footage showing a man resembling Yasin carrying a bag in which the explosives may have been.

Varanasi

The Uttar Pradesh ATS will seek a remand to question Bhatkal. It ahs come to light that he may have had a role in a blast at Sheetla Ghat of Varanasi on December 7, 2010, Inspector General (IG) Law & Order R K Vishwakarma said.

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