Could Spot Cops As They Were In Uniform
Mumbai: As a possible Indian Mujahideen (IM) angle is discussed in last week’s Chennai train blasts, security agencies rue the day in 2011 that the now-arrested Yasin Bhatkal slipped through a dragnet in the Tamil Nadu capital and reportedly went on to wreak more havoc.
On November 27, 2011, IM chief Bhatkal gave the Chennai police the slip after seeing uniformed officers around a house on Pilayar Koil Street in Selaiyur. He fled just a halfhour before the police raided the house, which was rented by Bhatkal’s father-in-law, Irashad Khan, who was arrested from the hideout.
Teams from the Delhi special cell, Chennai police and Intelligence Bureau arrived at the house after getting information that Bhatkal had landed in Chennai. The Delhi police had sought help from their Chennai counterparts to nab Bhatkal, who had arrived in that city three days before.
“The deployment of Chennai police’s men in uniform spoiled the operation,” a source said.
Bhatkal, returning from the local market, spotted some uniformed policemen and barricades in the lane and suspected the police had come for him. Not wasting a minute, Bhatkal escaped.
Since then, IM presence in Tamil Nadu was said to be thin. “After the arrest of Irashad Khan and several others in 2011, IM was not found in any incident in TN,” a source said.
The Chennai police found that material recovered from Thursday’s train blasts site was similar to that found in Patna after bomb blasts there, and it seems that security agencies are focusing on an IM angle in the explosions that killed a person.
“The pattern of the train blasts, the material seized, the timer device and the make of the bombs are under scrutiny and there are possibilities of some more hideouts of the IM not known to police.”
It is learnt that the IM presence in Chennai is limited to sleeper cells in Coimbatore, Melapalayam in Tirunelveli district and a few other places, because of the active presence of another banned outfit, Al-Ummah, in Tamil Nadu.
“There is a possibility that operatives of the two outfits might be trying to come under one umbrella, but it’s too early to say whose handiwork the blasts were,” a security establishment source said. Bhatkal was finally arrested along with an aide, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, in a joint operation of the Bihar police and the Intelligence Bureau on August 29 last year.
The Times of India, May 6, 2014