Haren Pandya killing ‘mastermind’ was at Pak meeting: IM's Akhtar

Haren PandyaPandya, a senior BJP leader, was shot dead by unidentified men after a morning walk in Ahmedabad.

A top Indian Mujahideen operative nabbed along with IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal is believed to have claimed that a SIMI ideologue accused of masterminding the 2003 killing of former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya, was present at a meeting the operative attended in Pakistan last year.

Sources said the operative, Asadullah Akhtar, has told interrogators that he was among those from five Indian states who attended a meeting in Karachi to discuss the future plans of IM.

SIMI ideologue Mufti Sufiyan, suspected to be behind Pandya's murder, was in Pakistan and present at that meeting, he is said to have claimed.

Pandya, a senior BJP leader, was shot dead by unidentified men after a morning walk in Ahmedabad. The CBI had arrested 14 people for the crime but they were let off by the Gujarat High Court. The CBI has filed an appeal against the acquittal in the Supreme Court.

Sufiyan, who was also named in the case and a red corner notice issued, is said to belong to Gujarat and is suspected to have plotted Pandya's killing in retaliation for the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat a year earlier.

Akhtar was arrested along with Yasin from near the India-Nepal border last year and the duo are since being questioned by security agencies. They are currently in the custody of the Delhi Police Special Cell in connection with the 2010 Jama Masjid terror attack.

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