The Indian Mujahideen suffered a major blow a month back when its tallest leader, Yasin Bhatkal was arrested. Not only was Yasin arrested, but with him the agencies managed to take in Assadullah Akthar who too had become a major player in the outfit.
If the agencies are able to ascertain that it was the Indian Mujahideen that carried out the Patna blasts, then it would be interesting to see how the entire command structure of the outfit continues to work.
It would be safe to mention here that a majority of the brains behind this outfit are either in Pakistan and India. The think tanks are in Pakistan while the ground level operatives continue to hover around various states of India orchestrating horrific blasts.
Assadullah Akthar and Yasin Bhatkal who have been questioned for nearly 300 hours by the National Investigation Agency provide a closer look at the structure of the Indian Mujahideen and how it functions.
The usual names that come to one’s mind are Amir Reza Khan, Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal and while there is plenty reported about the duo, there is a good command structure below them which help call the shots thus making the Indian Mujahideen a very lethal outfit.
Arif Zarar- He was part of the Batla House encounter and till date is not traceable. He managed to give the police the slip following that encounter and is believed to be in Nepal today. His role is to facilitate the movement of terrorists between India and Pakistan via the Nepal border.
Hakim alias Bagga- A very close aide of Riyaz Bhatkal. He went missing after the Delhi blasts. He had played a primary role in the Delhi blasts with regard to the procurement of weapons. Today he is believed to be sheltered with the help of Riyaz Bhatkal in Pakistan.
Kodhi alias Khalid- A part of the team which carried out the blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi. He is in Pakistan today and oversees the operations of the Indian Mujahideen along with the rest of the team over there. He has beent tasked with the job of approving the logistics.
Abu Rashid- An accused in the Surat blasts, he has been missing since then. He is said to be in India and helping out with setting up modules in Gujarat. He was briefly in Nepal and may have come back according to the agencies. His expertise are restricted to Gujarat.
Sultan- A major operative based out of Lahore in Pakistan. His stint in India was very brief and he oversaw the setting up of the Indian Mujahideen way back in the year 2006-07. He is said to have fled the country along with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. He has been basically helping with the training of newer recruits from India who go to Pakistan for training.
Maula alias Pujari- A part of the earlier core team of the Indian Mujahideen. He is said to be in Pakistan today He operates more with Amir Reza Khan one of the founder members of the Indian Mujahideen.
Shabbar- He was part of the team which was with the Azamgarh module. However he too moved into Pakistan following the encounter at Batla House. Although he was not present, his name cropped up during the investigation which forced him to flee the country.
Bigdu Khan- He came into the Indian Mujahideen in the year 2008, the same year when Yasin commenced his operations. He worked closely with Yasin Bhatkal for a year before fleeing to Pakistan. It is said that he was called to Pakistan by Riyaz Bhatkal in order to assist Sultan an operative at Lahore.
Mota Bhai- He is a resident of Karachi in Pakistan and is said to be the link between the Indian Mujahideen and the ISI. He has been tasked to be a middle man in the affairs of the Indian Mujahideen.
Farhan Bhatkal- His name has not cropped up in anything major and is just said to be with Riyaz Bhatkal in Pakistan. He could have helped Riyaz with a couple of things and not wanting to be in the thick of the heat he accompanied Riyaz to Pakistan. He is said to be residing at the same address where Riyaz is at.
Bada Sajid- A major player in the outfit. He was responsible for recruitments and also accommodating IM operatives in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. He was inclined more towards the Al-Qaeda over the past couple of years. The agencies said that he made an attempt to move to Afghanistan, but there has been no information after that on him.
Iqbal Bhatkal- The brother of Riyaz Bhatkal, he is one of the founder members of the group. He is said to be calling the shots along with his brother from Pakistan.
Amir Reza Khan- Another founder member of the IM. His expertise was seen in the operations that the IM carried in West Bengal. He too is among the think tanks of the outfit based out of Pakistan.
Riyaz Bhatkal- One of the deadliest operatives of the IM. He was part of the first team that set up the outfit. He calls the shots from Pakistan. He is the one who is said to have nurtured Yasin Bhatkal and even roped him into the outfit.
Mohsin Choudhary- Another founder member. Today from Paksitan he coordinates between the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Indian Mujahideen. His job is to ensure that the IM and Lashkar operatives in India work in tandem.
(This story first appeared on rediff.com)