Bhatkal module: Cops need to fill in the blanks
In the past two weeks there have been several arrests that have been carried out by the Bengaluru police in the case what is known as the Karnataka terror plot.
In all five persons have been taken into custody and the police say that they were all operatives of the Indian Mujahideen closely associated with operatives from Bhatkal. What exactly is the role played by these people is something that investigations would reveal in the days to come.
However the more pertinent question that needs to be asked is whether these youth had worked for the module in the past or were planning on reviving the Indian Mujahideen?
Probing into the past
Looking closely at the probe, it appears as though the police are trying to see if they were linked to two key cases- The Dilsukhnagar blasts and the 13/7 attacks in Mumbai. Also under the scanner is their alleged role in carrying out future attacks in Karnataka.
There appears to be some conflict in this case especially where the probe into the Dilsukhnagar blasts is concerned. The NIA which had probed that case has concluded that it was a Riyaz Bhatkal operation staged out of Pakistan and loyally carried out by his key men Yasin Bhatkal and others.
Now what the Bengaluru police are looking into is whether these arrested youth had helped move the explosives to Hyderabad which was picked up Yasin and used in the blast which killed 18 persons including an unborn child.
Dilsukhnagar blast trail
As per the chargesheet filed by the NIA in this case, the primary accused in the case are Riyaz Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal, Waqas Ahmed, Tahaseen Akhtar and Asadullah Akhthar. Investigation of NIA established, through evidence that the main operative of the module Riyaz Bhatkal while hiding in Pakistan hatched a criminal conspiracy along with Yasin Bhatkal to carry out the Dilsukhnagar blasts.
Riyaz arranged for explosive substances and directed accused Asadullah Akhtar, and Waqas, at Mangalore to receive the same. After receiving the explosive materials and the money sent by Riyaz through Hawala and Money Transfer channels.
Tahaseen who was already in Hyderabad received the rest of the members and prepared the bombs and planted the same on cycles in Dilsukhnagar.
The missing trail
While the NIA chargesheet clearly states that Riyaz Bhatkal had arranged for the explosives, the point that is missing is who did he contact in India for the same. The explosives were moved into Mangalore where Yasin and the rest were staying.
It is still unclear who transported the material to Mangalore. With the arrest of these five persons believed to be part of the Bhatkal module, the police will now have to find the missing link.
Who were these four people who moved the explosives from Bhatkal to Mangalore? Did one of them, who were part of this module based out of UAE, help Riyaz Bhatkal move the money as has been mentioned in the NIA chargesheet?
The Bengaluru police claimed that the module that they busted recently in Bhatkal is a major one. While stating that they had plans of carrying out more attacks, there is also a gentle indication they make which suggests that the IM was on revival mode.
However this case will require the support of multiple agencies as this module does not appear to be restricted to Karnataka alone. It would need assistance of the NIA which has probed the Dilsukhnagar case. It would also require assistance from the Maharashtra ATS which probed the 13/7 case.
For now, it appears as though the police are probing in the past since this module on a closer look appears to have supported the IM which carried out the Dilsukhnagar and 13/7 blasts.
The probe into the Chinnaswamy blasts and the connection of the Bhatkal module was also something that police spoke about recently. However this probe indicated a straight forward trail in which Yasin brought in the material by himself from Chickmagalur. This Bhatkal module does not appear to be connected to the Chinnaswamy blasts.