ibnlive » India

Jan 23, 2012 at 11:24pm IST

13/7 blasts: Search for Bhatkal continues

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad on Monday claimed to have cracked the July 13 triple blasts in Mumbai that rocked the areas of Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar last year. Two people were arrested for the blasts that claimed 27 lives. However, the hunt for the elusive mastermind - Yasin Bhatkal, a top IM operative - still continues.

ATS chief Rakesh Maria said after the arrest, "We have made two arrests in the blast case - Naqee and Nadeem. The two accused had stolen the two scooters used in the commission of the crime." The twin arrests come nearly six months after the blasts.

Naqee Ahmed and Nadeem Mukhtar, who hail from Darbhanga in Bihar, stand accused of assisting the terror mastermind, Ahmed Zarar Siddibuppa alias Bhatkal.

Apart from stealing the scooters used for planting the bombs at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House, the two also transported the explosives from Delhi to Mumbai on a train.

They are said to have used false identities while in Mumbai and recceing the target spots. They allegedly rented a house in Byculla's Habib building where the bombs were allegedly assembled.

A total of Rs 10 lakh was reportedly funneled in through the hawala route to carry out the attacks.

The ATS also claims to have identified the three planters who planted the bombs at the three areas in Mumbai, but are yet to reveal their identity.

The Squad said that the accused underwent indoctrination in Darbhanga since 2008. It also recovered two bikes from the duo which were allegedly stolen for future attacks.

Maria does not rule out underworld involvement in the blasts. "There is some underworld involvement, not of Mumbai underworld, but some other. Let us investigate. Please bear with us," he said.

The disclosure from the Maharashtra ATS comes days within its reported rift with the Delhi Special Cell which was conducting a search operation in Mumbai. Though key facilitators of the 13/7 blasts have been caught, the hunt for the ever-elusive Bhatkal still continues.