Salman, suspected explosives supplier and still a mystery

FP

Details about a man from Karnataka's coastal region, believed to be a provider of bomb-making material to the Indian Mujahideen and its key leader Yasin Bhatkal, remain unclear despite police efforts to find out more about him from the interrogation of Fasih Mehmood, an alleged IM operative deported from Saudi Arabia recently.

The man, identified as Salman, has been named as a supplier of detonators and explosives among six absconding persons including the Bhatkals — Riyaz, Iqbal and Yasin — in a list of 14 people, including Fasih Mehmood, who are accused in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts of April 17, 2010. Beyond the name, however, a clear identity is yet to emerge.

The interrogation of Fasih, who was deported on October 22 and is in judicial custody, has led to fresh references to Salman, a close Yasin associate from the Mangalore region, but descriptions about even his age are inconsistent.

Fasih, 29, a classmate of Yasin at Anjuman Engineering College in Bhatkal between 2000 and 2004, has said Salman is 32 years old. The other description is from another accused who, sources said, has revealed that after the stadium blasts he had travelled from Mumbai to Mangalore on Yasin's instructions to collect a box of detonators from a man called Salman. He has described Salman as being in his early twenties.

Since 2008, coastal Karnataka as a point of supply of bomb materials has figured several times in investigations linked to the Indian Mujahideen. Yasin Bhatkal himself is suspected to have been the supplier of explosives from the region in 2008. He has been on the run since late 2008 but the access to bomb materials from the region has continued.

In the May 13, 2008, serial blasts in Jaipur that left 80 people dead, the ammonium nitrate used in the nine bombs was sourced from Udupi near Mangalore, allegedly by Indian Mujahideen operatives Atif Ameen (killed in the Batla house encounter of 2008) and Ariz Khan (absconding).

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