ENARADA, Mangalore, September 17, 2013:
The Mangalore connections of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal who was arrested by IB officials on August 28, from a hideout in Bihar-Nepal border, are well known. Recently National Investigation Agency officials came calling to Mangalore along with Bhatkal’s fellow operative Asadullah Akthar, to help identify the flat he had stayed with Bhatkal and used to make bombs used for the twin blasts that occurred in Hyderabad in February this year.
Two other IM operatives, who are said to be experts in connecting circuits of IED’s were also staying in the 3rd floor of the flat Zephyr Heights in Attavar until the breaking news of the arrest of Bhatkal and Asadullah. With the TV channels breaking the news of their arrests, which was supposed to be a top secret, Bhatkal’s associates in Mangalore were alerted. The leakage of this sensitive information of the arrest, proved costly for India as both Waqas alias Ahmed and Tahseen Akthar managed to escape from their hide out from the 3rd floor of their apartment in Mangalore.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) wanted the news of their arrest a secret so that they could zero in on their other accomplices of Bhatkal hiding in different parts of the country But the leakage of the vital news of their arrest by the media proved to be a costly mistake for NIA and IB as both Akhtar (A Bihari) and Ahmed (a Pakistani) escaped from this Mangalore flat once soon after they came to know about the arrest of Bhatkal and his close associate. This was proved when NIA raided flat no. 301 on the third floor of Zephyr heights, in Attavar, a few days after Bhatkal’s arrest. The NIA team found the flat abandoned with explosive devices, digital timers and explosives and bomb detonators strewn around the rooms of the flat.
The news of Bhatkal and Asadullah living in Attavar, in the heart of the city, for nearly six months, came as a shocker to the people of Mangalore. The general public cannot believe that the terrorists lived in the heart of the city amidst them for so long.
The visit of NIA team to Mangalore in the first week of September this year was not well publicized due to varied reasons. Even the police were tight-lipped about the visit of NIA team. The visit of NIA team to Mangalore assumed significance as the police had busted an IM module in Mangalore in 2008 following a tip off from Mumbai police. The police then had recovered explosives from a house in Chembugudde near Thokkottu where Yasin Bhatkal was staying before he managed to escape.
The Mangalore police also want to take custody of Bhatkal following the recovery of explosives from the rented house in Chembugudde in 2008. So there is a possibility that Bhatkal may be brought to Mangalore in this connection.