Main bomber in ’08 Delhi blasts nabbed in Nepal

He’d Fled Dur­ing En­counter At Batla House

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

New Delhi: In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have nabbed Mo­ham­mad Ariz Khan, aka Ju­naid, a prom­i­nent In­dian Mu­jahideen mem­ber and the al­leged main ex­ecu­tor of the

FULL COV­ER­AGE: P6

2008 se­rial blasts in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmed­abad that killed 165 peo­ple and left more than 535 in­jured.

Ariz had man­aged to es­cape from the Batla House flat dur­ing the 2008 po­lice en­counter in which in­spec­tor Mo­han Chand Sharma was shot dead. In­tel­li­gence agen­cies caught up with Ariz in Nepal, where he was held along with an aide, Ab­dul Sub­han Qureshi, aka Tauqeer.

Ariz, an ex­pert bomber, has been handed over to the Delhi Po­lice. He car­ried a re­ward of Rs 15 lakh and an In­ter­pol red-cor­ner no­tice had been is­sued against him.

Swing­ing be­tween In­dia, Nepal and Saudi Ara­bia, Ariz had man­aged to dodge in­ves­ti­ga­tors for around a decade be­fore he and Tauqeer were spot­ted in Dam­mam, Saudi Ara­bia, by sleuths of an in­tel­li­gence anal­y­sis unit in De­cem­ber 2016.

On Septem­ber 13, 2008, Ariz and his as­so­ciate had al­legedly planted IEDs at MBlock Mar­ket, Greater Kailash and other places in Delhi. Around 30 peo­ple were killed and over 100 were in­jured in se­rial blasts at the GK mar­ket, Karol Bagh and Con­naught Place. Four un­ex­ploded IEDs were re­cov­ered from Con­naught Place, In­dia Gate and Par­lia­ment Street.

Ariz and Tauqeer re­turned to Nepal in March 2017 and have been in that coun­try since. In­dian agen­cies fi­nally closed in on them last De­cem­ber. While Tauqeer was brought to In­dia in early Jan­uary, Delhi Po­lice for­mally ar­rested Ariz from Ban­basa, on Indo-Nepal bor­der, on Tues­day. A third sus­pect is also be­ing ques­tioned and is likely to be ar­rested in the com­ing days, sources said.

In his dis­clo­sure, Ariz claimed that he had be­gun op­er­a­tions to re­vive IM af­ter form­ing a base in Nepal. Through his es­tab­lished con­tacts, he pro­cured lo­gis­tics for his vis­its to In­dia.

Ariz told in­ter­roga­tors that af­ter the Batla House en- FLASH­BACK: counter, he had vis­ited a num­ber of rel­a­tives and ac­quain­tances in Delhi, UP, Ra­jasthan and Ma­ha­rash­tra for shel­ter but none agreed to keep him fear­ing po­lice ac­tion.

He then con­tacted his un­cle, Khur­sheed Alam, who gave him con­tact de­tails of one Niza­mud­din alias Nizam Khan in Nepal. Ariz, who was in Varanasi at that time, then headed to Bi­har and crossed the open bor­der to reach Bi­rat Na­gar, Nepal. There, Nizam helped him with a place to stay and gave him money, Ariz told in­ter­roga­tors.

In due course, Nizam helped him pro­cure a Nepali cit­i­zen­ship card and a pass­port in the name of Mo­hammed Salim. In Nepal, he had stayed in Palpa, Kapilavastu and Gorkha area, he has claimed. Dur­ing his stay in Nepal, he started a dhaba but later be­gan to teach at small schools in the area. He re­mained in Nepal till 2014.

Af­ter that, he got in touch with Riyaz Bhatkal who mo­ti­vated him to come to Dam­mam, Saudi Ara­bia for ar­rang­ing fi­nances to re­vive the In­dian Mu­jahideen in In­dia. In Septem­ber 2014, he went to Saudi Ara­bia as Sa- lim. For cover, he worked as a “stocker” at a com­pany and be­gan to meet SIMI/IM sym­pa­this­ers there.

Delhi Po­lice has ar­rested him un­der sec­tions of UAPA and wag­ing war against the na­tion in­voked in the Delhi se­rial blasts case of 2008.

Ac­cord­ing to Delhi Po­lice, Ariz’s as­so­ciates, Saif and Khalid, had brought ex­plo­sives from the Bhatkals in Udupi, Kar­nataka, for the se­rial blasts. Ariz and Atif Ameen re­ceived the ex­plo­sives in Delhi. Ariz and “Bada Sa­jid” bought raw ma­te­ri­als for mak­ing the IEDs from var­i­ous mar­kets of Delhi.

Ariz has been taken on re­mand till March 10 for in­ter­ro­ga­tion by a po­lice team led by deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (spe­cial cell) Pramod Kush­waha.

The Batla House en­counter had left a cop dead

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