In a major breakthrough linking the Indian Mujahideen and the
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), two people have been arrested for the
German Bakery bombing that killed 17 people in Maharashtra's Pune
city this February, officials said Wednesday.
While one man was arrested in Nashik, the other was nabbed in Pune.
Both were arrested Tuesday.
"The prime suspect, Himayat Baig, was arrested from Pune at 3.15
p.m. on Tuesday while Shaikh Lal Baba Mohammad Hussain Farid alias
Bilal was nabbed from Nashik at 8.45 p.m.," said Maharashtra
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria.
"We would not like to disclose right now as it is a part of our
investigation, but Baig and Bilal were being controlled by someone
from LeT in Pakistan," Maria said.
The ATS has also seized close to two kg of RDX, LeT literature,
bomb making manuals, US and Indian currencies, mobile telephones
and pen drives from the two.
"Photographs of the German Bakery site were also seized from
them," Maria said.
The blast, in which 17 people were killed and more than 65
injured, took place Feb 13, ripping through the German Bakery, a
haunt of foreigners and the rich, in Pune's trendy Koregaon Park
Amongst the victims were four foreigners -- an Italian woman, an
Iranian, and two Sudanese.
Baig, 29, originally from Beed town in Maharashtra, was
instrumental in creating a module of the LeT in Aurangabad and
later merging it with the Indian Mujahideen.
He shifted to Udgir in Latur district a year-and-half ago and
owned an internet café where the plan for the Pune blast was made.
"It was priority No 1 of the ATS to detect and arrest the accused
of this sensational case. After a whole lot of painstaking effort
-- the case took us to Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar
Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- we arrested Baig and Bilal
yesterday," Maria said.
He described Baig as very important to the case and the one who
created the entire module.
"He was the one who planned the blasts, identified the spots, made
the bombs and planted them," the ATS chief said.
Baig had come in contact with Akbar Chaudhary, a man who allegedly
was a member of the Indian Mujahideen and was arrested by Mumbai
Crime Branch in 2008.
After he got to know Akbar, Baig was introduced to Iqbal and Riaz,
both Indian Mujahideen activists, and sent to Bhatkal, a coastal
town in Karnataka, for training, Maria said.
Bilal, 27, originally from Solapur, was sent by the LeT for
training in Pakistan, Maria said.
"Officially, he was in Pakistan from January 2008 to early 2010.
But he has, during this period, crossed over to India thrice,
twice from Bangladesh and once from Nepal," Maria added.
According to Maria, the plan for the German Bakery blast had
started in January 2010.
"The conspiracy was hatched in the last week of January 2010 in
Udgir. Baig came to Pune Jan 31 and conducted a recce of German
Bakery and identified the spots where the bombs could be planted,"
"On Feb 3, another meeting was held at Baig's internet café in
Udgir. The plans were finalised Feb 12 night. Bilal and Baig then
left for Pune Feb 13 morning, reached Pune by afternoon and
undertook the blasts," Maria added.
Baig, along with Bilal, Mohsin and Yasin, also had plans to target
various locations in the state.
"The names of Mohsin and Yasin have cropped up during the initial
questioning of Baig and Bilal. We will undertake further
investigation in the case once we get their custody from the
court," Maria said.
"Also, from the initial questioning, we have found that Mohsin was
the one who came to Pune with the explosives," Maria added.
Bilal, on the other hand, had obtained a driving licence and a
residential certificate in Nashik under fictitious names. "He had
also done a recce of government buildings in Nashik and Aurangabad,"
The arrested men will be presented before a Mumbai court, Maria