With more details of an Indian Mujahideen hand emerging in the Patna blasts case, investigation agencies have found that the alleged mastermind had access to 90 improvised explosive devices.
All these were found during the raids that were conducted at Mangalore and Hyderabad. The Indian Mujahideen did not want to spend time preparing the IEDs and the rest of the equipment for the bombs and hence began keeping everything ready in advance.
When Yasin was arrested Tehsin was in Mangalore and had taken up an room at the Zephyr apartments. They had also simultaneously booked a house at Abdullapur in Hyderabad. Tehsin was at the Mangalore apartment for nearly a year and all through he was experimenting with various types of bombs. When the police raided that apartment, Tehsin had slipped out following the news of Yasin’s arrest. The police conducted simultaneous raids in Mangalore and Hyderabad and found 90 IEDs, various clock timers, shrapnel and ammonium nitrate. What was shocking for the police was that most of the devices were connected and appeared to be ready for use. They were also trying to experiment with a new timer device. For this they tried connecting it to the timer in a mobile phone apart from using electronic clocks. However they decided to stick to their usual Samay quartz timer which was seen at the Patna blasts as well.
The number of devices that the police found has led them to believe that the IM was planning a spate of attacks across the country. On questioning Yasin Bhatkal they found that they wanted to keep most of the equipment ready and activate the bombs at quick time. We did not want to spend too much in surveying places and wanted quick results irrespective of the impact. We also believed that transporting low intensity bombs and placing them was an easier task. The weights of such bombs are lesser due to the quantity of detonating substance used in it. This makes transportation easier and also one person is able to handle two bombs at a time. Yasin also reveals that the bombs would be placed in smaller tiffin careers so that each person could handle more than one bomb.
Yasin says that the idea was to plant as many bombs as possible at one place and they never wanted to use to more operatives as the suspicion would only go up. We only wanted to use not more than six operatives who were in the inner circle to plant the bombs. Moreover each one had to carry at least 2 to 3 bombs and hence we devised the idea of planting low intensity explosives. The inner circle was always together and the intention was to communicate directly and not use technology as there was a good chance of us being tracked down.
The NIA is relying heavily on the statements made by Yasin and have also found another operative by the name Haider had played a very important role in the Patna blasts. The Patna blast was code named Machli 5 and Haider used a pseudo name Black Beauty. He was one of the main operatives along with Tehsin and Imitiaz for this operation and was referred to as black beauty.
The planning for the Patna blasts commenced just a month before the attack. In fact it was planned immediately on hearing that Narendra Modi would hold a rally in Patna. The accused persons kept a tab of everything that was happening and also realized that the friction between Modi and Nitish Kumar would only ensure that the security by the Bihar police would be lax or lackluster. Imtiaz says during his questioning that not once were stopped or questioned by anyone. We visited the railways station and also the Gandhi Maidan more than 20 times during the planning stages and none got a wind of what we were up to.
(Story first appeared in rediff.com)