Close friend of Yasin Bhatkal, he helped rebuild network: police
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Security agencies consider the deportation and arrest of Fasih Mehmood a major success in their offensive against Indian Mujahideen as they suspect him to be a co-founder of the terror group and its most senior member they have been able to seize so far.
The story of how Fasih allegedly got embroiled in terrorism and the IM network goes back to 2002 when he was an engineering student in the coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal, investigators said. At the Anjuman Engineering College, Fasih was a batchmate and alleged close friend of Yasin Bhatkal, the man suspected to be at the centre of a series of bomb blasts across India since 2006 that have been blamed on IM.
Their association, police believe, developed into a longstanding partnership that allegedly saw Fasih contribute men to two recent IM attacks — the Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts and the Jama Masjid firing incident of September 2010. In Bangalore, five bombs were planted around the stadium. Two of them exploded but no one was killed.
Although Delhi Police is yet to ascertain Fasih's role in the Jama Masjid attack, investigators in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts case say he helped Bhatkal gather a group of men from his home district of Dharbhanga in Bihar for the two attacks.
Sources said that after the IM network was disrupted following concerted police action across the country in 2008, the group is believed to have tapped Fasih and his contacts in 2009 to re-assemble a team of foot-soldiers to carry forward the terror agenda.
Investigators allege that Fasih provided Bhatkal access to his cousin Gauhar Aziz Khomeini, 31, who was living in New Delhi and was also a key link to another former Anjuman Engineering College student, Mohammed Tariq Anjum Hassan. Hassan, sources said, had been drawn to the IM agenda by Bhatkal when they worked in Dubai in 2006. Khomeini and Hassan were arrested by the Delhi Police and are among the seven held in the stadium blasts case.
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