The Varanasi blast was a rude wake up call for the country as a whole and security agencies in particular. The belief that the dirty Indian Mujahideen was dead was proven wrong and this blast proved to all of us that this outfit is very much alive and is trying to breathe more life into it.
Reviewing the investigations more than a week after the incident took place, it becomes clear that all agencies have with them is the names of the mastermind. After ascertaining that it was the Indian Mujahideen that in fact carried out the attack, the police were on the trail of the men who planted the bombs. Sources tell rediff.com that the men or the foot soldiers who planted the bombs were migrant workers and they have managed to flee the country. We have alerted our counterparts in Bangladesh who are on the look out for these men. Investigating agencies suspect that in all there may have been three men on the ground who carried out the job. After planting the bomb, they have managed to flee the place and could have crossed over to Bangladesh. There is also a suspicion that one of these men could be in West Bengal and the police over there have been alerted about the same.
Meanwhile the Indian agencies have drawn out a list of 31 men of which 19 still form part of the Indian Mujahideen. The issue however is that these men are not in the country and most of them are in Sharjah, Dubai while some of them are in Pakistan. The names of Dr Shahnawaz, Asadullah Akthar, Mohammad Sajid, Khalid, the Bhatkal brothers among others figure in this list. However the names that have been mentioned are the men who India need to worry about. These men are constantly working out plans to re-organise the Indian Mujahideen and nabbing them becomes a priority.
Indian Intelligence agencies say that getting the Bhatkal brothers out of Pakistan is a hard job, but the rest of them who are in places such as Sharjah, Dubai and Oman could be extradited due to friendly ties with these nations.
Meanwhile the radar of the Intelligence Bureau has increased on places such as Azamgarh and Bhatkal. The big names of the IM originally hailed from these places and the agencies are looking to pick up some of the men who are closely associated with these persons. The IB says that there has been a lot of movement in these places and there are plenty of disgruntled youth who are ready to take up arms at any time. They feel wronged by certain incidents and they feel that they should take revenge. The top bosses of the IM are well aware of this and will look to tap these men to fight for them and cause destruction in India.
In addition to this the cops are also on the money trail which helped carry out these blasts.The IM was worried that due to its falling strength it may find it difficult to coax financers and sympathisers to cough up money for their operations. Investigations have revealed that the IM did make a few extortion calls to businessmen in Kolkata to extort money from them. This part of the probe will be handled by the NIA and based on the inputs they have received from the police they will go ahead and probe and also question the businessmen who have been complaining of extortion calls.
In the past the IM had demanded from businessmen money to the tune of Rs 30 crores. Some have complained about this, but there may be many who have given in, the police say. The police say that these extortion calls have mainly been made from Pakistan. The police suspect that the calls may have been made by Amir Raza Khan and his aide Khaiyam who are both operatives of the IM and are based in Pakistan. The NIA will look into this aspect and the investigations in this regard will be extremely crucial since to bust any terror network it is important to know the money trail.