Sticky-bomb Iranian suspect linked to Bangkok plotters, India dials Tehran

Delhi Police
For the first time today, the Delhi Police linked an Iranian suspect in the attack on the Israeli diplomat in Delhi with a "Bangkok module" that was planning a similar attack in the Thailand capital.

The Iranian suspect in the Delhi case, Houshang Afshar Irani, was reportedly in regular touch with one of the members of the "Bangkok module" arrested in Malaysia, Sedghatzadeh Masoud. It was while tracking the phone calls between them that investigators reportedly stumbled upon Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, who was in touch with Irani.

In its first diplomatic contact with Tehran on the February 13 blast, India today called up Iranian ambassador in New Delhi Syed Mehdi Nabizadeh and sought the country's cooperation in catching the Iranian suspects in the case. New Delhi had been careful not to name the Iranian link so far despite Israel's insistence.

The police believe it was Irani who attached explosives to the vehicle of the Israeli diplomat in Delhi, leaving her seriously injured. Hours after the blast in Delhi, Irani left for Malaysia on February 13 from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Masoud was arrested in Malaysia on February 15. He was part of the group that was allegedly trying to target Israeli nationals in Bangkok when they accidentally blew up the house they were building a bomb in, a day after the Delhi attack. Another suspect had got injured when a bomb he tried to throw had bounced and hit him.

While the Delhi Police had earlier obtained warrants against three other Iranians, including Irani, today they also got an NBW against Masoud.

"With the help of intelligence agencies we got details of three men of Iranian origin involved in the botched terror attempt in Bangkok. While two men were arrested in Bangkok, the third suspect (Masoud) was detained at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. The same module was operational in Delhi and it was being controlled by Masoud," said a senior police officer.

The other two accused in the Delhi attack, Syed Ali Sadr Mehdian and Abolghasemi Mohammad Reza, left the capital before the blast. "The return ticket of Mehdian was booked by Kazmi. Documents to this effect have been seized from the concerned travel agency," said B K Gupta, the Delhi Police Commissioner.

According to the police, Kazmi first met Mehdian when he went to Tehran in February 2011. "Kazmi said that in 2011 he went to Iran twice at the instance of Mehdian. There he also met Reza. On both occasions he was asked to provide assistance in India to their associates as and when required. He was paid $5,500. It was at Mehdian's instance that Kazmi met Irani in Delhi and both then recceed the Isreali Embassy and its surrounding areas. They used the scooty purchased by Irani for the reccee. This scooty was recovered from the house of Irani," said Gupta.

Police said Kazmi had received foreign remittances both in his as well as his wife's account. "Till date his wife has received Rs 18.78 lakh in her account and Kazmi got Rs 3.8 lakh, for which they do not have any satisfactory explanation," said Gupta.

Police have approached the Enforcement Directorate and the Financial Investigation Unit to probe the source of the foreign remittances.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.