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I M planned to attack Akshardham temple


New Delhi, Feb 24:

The Indian Mujahideen was planning to attack the Akshardham temple in the national capital and the army cantonment area in Pune, the NIA has said in a charge sheet filed against the outfit’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and three others.

Yasin Bhatkal
Yasin Bhatkal

According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charge sheet filed Feb 20, data retrieved from laptops seized from Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar, members of the Indian Mujahideen were carrying out reconnaissance of the Akshardham temple and Pune cantonment.

The NIA said the accused shared photographs of the temple on internet.

“Investigation revealed that accused Md. Ahmed Siddibapa (alias Yasin Bhatkal) went there for the purpose of recce. This established the design of the accused people for conducting future attacks,” it added.

Photographs of Kirkee area in Pune were sent by Indian Mujahideen operative Riyaz Bhatkal to Akhtar through internet in order to carry out a reconnaissance during January-February 2012, the NIA said.

ISI Kutte

Indian Mujahideen operative Riyaz Bhatkal was badly treated by his ISI handlers, and voicing anger, he once referred to them as “kutte” (dogs) in a chat message traced by the NIA.

According to the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a court Monday against Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of the IM who was nabbed in August last year, the anti-terror probe agency was able to establish the frustration in Riyaz Bhatkal from his internet chat messages.

“Riyaz Bhatkal was also badly treated by the Inter Services Intelligence officials, whom he refers as ‘kutte’ in the chat, for trying to establish contact with the Al Qaeda. Riyaz was sternly warned by the ISI to desist from any attempt to contact Al Qaeda fighting in the Af-Pak region.”

“It is established from the chats that the absconding accused Riyaz Bhatkal travelled to the tribal belts on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border for establishing contact with Al Qaeda,” the charge sheet said.

Riyaz Bhatkal was the co-conspirator in terror attacks in India. He instructed IM operatives to carry out various terror attacks, including the 2007 Hyderabad bombings, the 2008 Jaipur blasts, and the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune, in which his cousin Yasin Bhatkal was the one who placed the explosive-packed knapsack by a restaurant table.

According to the charge sheet, fissures had also developed between two groups of IM operatives – one led by Sajid Sheikh and the other by Bhatkals — who included Riyaz, Yasin and Iqbal.