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Bomber brain Shahrukh engineered triple terror strikes

Bomber brain Shahrukh engineered triple terror strikes

Author: Dwaipayan Ghosh and Neeraj Chauhan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 1, 2011
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Bomber-brain-Shahrukh-engineered-triple-terror-strikes/articleshow/10939322.cms

While the police here claim to have arrested six suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, their immediate leader and the terror outfit's alleged bomb expert, Ahmad Siddi Bappa alias Shahrukh, has managed to slip through their dragnet. Sources say Shahrukh is third in the IM hierarchy after its founders, brothers Riaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.

Known for his expertise in improvising bombs, Shahrukh is reportedly wanted in connection with the Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts of 2008. He is said to have provided the materials for the bombs used in the attacks and is charged with not only planning all three strikes - outside Jama Masid in Delhi, German Bakery in Pune and Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore - but also planting the bombs at the bakery and inside a car parked near Jama Masjid. His name figures in the chargesheet filed by Maharashtra's anti-terror squad (ATS) in the German Bakery case.

Sources in intelligence agencies told TOI that Shahrukh possesses strong leadership traits and had reorganized the outfit soon after it suffered a setback with the elimination of Atif Ameen and other top IM workers in an encounter at Batla House, in 2008. "He knew most of the members of that (Ameen's) module and had met Ameen several times," a police source told TOI, adding, "he made Delhi his base after the Batla House encounter and was making bombs and other ammunition at a factory in Mangal Bazar here."

He is also said to be a good fundraiser and moves constantly, often to Nepal. His catchment area for recruits includes hometown Bhatkal, Udupi, and Darbhanga and Madhubani in north Bihar.

Shahrukh is also said to be one of the last senior IM operatives operating out of Delhi. "He is a strict disciplinarian and came up with the idea to attack German Bakery as it is a foreigners' hotspot. He also chose September 19 last year for the Jama Masjid attack as it marked the second anniversary of the Batla House encounter,'' said an officer .

Sources said Sharukh's name first featured in police files in 2008 following the interrogation of Mohammad Saif, who was arrested in the Batla House encounter. Saif told the police that he had traveled to Udupi in Karnataka before the Jaipur and Delhi blasts in 2008 to get explosives. On both occasions, Shahrukh had supplied the material.

Officials said Shahrukh had trained all the terrorists involved in the Jama Masjid attack in making bombs using potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate and RDX at the factory.

Police sources confirmed that the search for Shahrukh is on but refused to speculate whether he was the terrorist who managed to evade arrest near the Nepal border and again in Chennai.

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