Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqueer, one of the founding members of the Indian Mujahideen has confirmed to investigators that the Bhatkal brothers are indeed in Pakistan. He said that Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal had left for Pakistan in 2008 itself and have been living under the protection of the ISI in Karachi since then.
Subhan was recently arrested following a manhunt that lasted nearly 10 years. He is being questioned by various agencies for leads into the formation of the Indian Mujahideen and also his role in several blasts.
He also told his interrogators that his close aide Asif Jailani too had fled to Pakistan and continues to reside there.
Subhan on the other hand said that he too had gone to Pakistan in 2008 and recently slipped into Nepal. He said that his intention was to return to India and then revive the Indian Mujahideen.
Subhan says that he was part of the SIMI before the Indian Mujahideen was formed. He says that following the SIMI ban in 2002, the outfit had become directionless. Two factions had been formed. While Shahid Badr Falahi led a moderate faction, Safdar Nagori decided to pick up arms.
Falahi was of the view that the ban must be fought in court. However Nagori wanted to carry out attacks and avenge the ban, Subhan further said. Following the arrest of Nagori, Subhan and Jailani decided to form a new outfit. They met with the Bhatkal brothers and then the Indian Mujahideen was born.