The Special Cell of the Delhi police today said it has arrested six terrorists who were planning to set off bombs in various parts of the country during the upcoming festival season. The arrests, including of two persons who are said to have received training in Pakistan and returned recently, followed a massive multi-state operation, officials said.
Today’s operation, spanning Delhi, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, was launched based on alerts on the said terror module from various agencies.
“During a raid in the morning, a terrorist from Maharashtra was arrested in Rajasthan’s Kota. Three were arrested with the help of the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) while two others were caught in Delhi,” Neeraj Thakur, a senior Special Cell official, told NDTV.
The arrested persons have been identified as Jaan Mohammad Shaikh (47 years old) of Mumbai, Osama (22) of Delhi, Moolchand (47) of Raebareli, Zeeshan Qamar (28) of Prayagraj, Mohammad Abu Bakar (23) of Bahraich, and Mohammad Amir Javed (31) of Lucknow.
The police have recovered two hand grenades, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a kilogram of RDX, and a pistol of Italian make.
Interrogation has revealed that two of the accused — Osama and Qamar — had travelled to Muscat, from where they were ferried to Pakistan on a boat, according to Mr Thakur. “In Pakistan, they were kept at a farmhouse for 15 days during which they were trained in firearms,” he said.
“Special Cell of Delhi police had received a reliable input from a central agency that a Pakistan-abetted and sponsored group of entities is planning to execute serial IED blasts in India. For this, the group has got multiple IEDs arranged from sources across the border and are at an advanced stage of preparation,” a police press release said today.
“Considering the gravity of the situation and stakes involved, a multi-pronged operation was launched and several teams were stationed at Mumbai, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Rae-Bareilly, and Pratapgarh, simultaneously,” it said.
The police say, based on interrogation, that this module had received sophisticated RDX-based IEDs, grenades, pistols, and cartridges from a sleeper cell operative and these were sent to UP for safe concealment.
Sheikh and Moolchand, the “underworld component” of the module acting at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence, was entrusted with two tasks, the police release said: transportation of arms and explosives and terror-funding through hawala channels. The Pakistan trained terror component, Osama and Qamar, was tasked with reconnaissance of targets and planting of IEDs.
Further nodes of this network are being identified, the release said.
The police also said that Qamar and Osama were trained for 15 days at a camp in Thatta, a town in Pakistan’s Sindh province.