New Delhi: The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has boosted terror elements in the region, and some of these notorious guys were going active.
One such Pakistani spy agency, ISI-controlled module, was busted by the Delhi police.
Delhi police on central agencies inputs and coordinating with cops from other states, including ATS from poll-bound and communally sensitive Uttar Pradesh, busted the Pak-orchestrated module and arrested six of them.
The arrested persons have been identified as Jaan Mohammad Shaikh (47 years old) of Mumbai, Osama (22) of Delhi, Moolchand alias Lala (47) of Raebareli, Zeeshan Qamar (28) of Prayagraj, Mohammad Abu Bakar (23) of Bahraich and Mohammad Amir Javed (31) of Lucknow.
The operation spanned states such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, besides the Special Cell in Delhi police.
Sameer was picked from Kota in Rajasthan when he was travelling in a train from Mumbai.
"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 nabbed in the national capital," Neeraj Thakur, Special SP of Special Cell, Delhi Police, told a press conference.
He said, "It appeared a very effectively planned and organised module controlled from across the border. These terrorists were divided into two teams. One team was asked to keep RDX and other ammunition in safe custody to be used in the future." The other team was assigned to organise funding through Hawala operations.
Two of the arrested had reportedly 'received training in Pakistan' in a module supported by fugitive Don Dawood Ibrahim's brother Anees Ibrahim.
Thakur said these two individuals had travelled to Muscat in April and were then taken to Pakistan.
"On preliminary investigation, it has been found that about 15 Bengali (Bangla) speaking individuals were also part of the training exercise," he said, adding that further information is yet to be ascertained.
"The Special Cell of Delhi police had received inputs 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."
The terrorists were planning something big before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Also, they were planning to carry out targeted killings and IED blasts in various parts of the country during the upcoming festival season, especially during Navratri and at Ram Leela gatherings.
The police recovered two hand grenades, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a kilogram of RDX, and a pistol of Italian made.
Interrogation revealed that two of the accused — Osama and Qamar — had travelled to Muscat, from where they were ferried to Pakistan on a ship and a boat.
"In Pakistan, they were kept at a farmhouse at Gwadar, a port city on the southwestern coast of Balochistan region. 15 days training was imparted in firearms," the senior police official said.
Qamar and Osama were probably trained at a camp in Thatta, Pakistan's Sindh province.
Considering the gravity of the situation and the stakes involved, separate operations were launched, and multiple teams were parked in Mumbai, Lucknow, Prayagraj and Rae-Bareilly.
The police said, based on the interrogation, 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 components" of the module, acting at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), were tasked to ensure the transportation of arms and explosives and even funding through hawala channels.