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4 terror strikes in '07-'11 when Fasih was in India: Police

Author: Prawesh Lama
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: February 17, 2013
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/4-terror-strikes-in-0711-when-fasih-was-in-india-police/1075434/0

Fasih Mehmood, an alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) founding member who was deported from Saudi Arabia last October, visited India on five occasions between 2007 and 2011, and four of those visits coincided with a terrorist attack in the country, police have said.

In a chargesheet filed in court on Saturday, the Delhi Police Special Cell said Fasih and other founding members of the IM received "generous support from many people in Pakistan who are well placed in the government there". The chargesheet — based on Fasih's confession — describes him as a "motivator" of the IM.

Immigration records show 30-year-old Fasih — who was arrested at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on October 22, 2012 — came to India five times between May 2007 and October 2011, the chargesheet says.

During one of those visits — from February to June 2008 — a series of nine blasts killed over 60 people in Jaipur on May 13, 2008.

Two years later, when Fasih was in the country between February and April 2010, a bomb at the famous German Bakery in Pune killed 17 people on February 13, the chargesheet says. A month later — and days before he left — several people were injured after two bombs went off at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 17.

Fasih was allegedly also in India on September 19, 2010 when, just over a fortnight ahead of the Commonwealth Games, two Taiwanese tourists were fired at and a car burst into flames close to the Jama Masjid in Delhi.

The chargesheet says forensic investigations point to Fasih's extensive knowledge of computer systems and an ability to use ghost or proxy servers while communicating over the Internet.

"This is a tactic used by technically proficient people to conceal their true identities. The logs of a particular duration show that when accused Fasih was actually in India (as per authenticated immigration details), the point of access of Internet is reflected as China," the chargesheet says.

The chargesheet, filed under the Explosives Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, details Fasih's alleged relationship with Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, believed to be the leader of the IM. Quoting Fasih's confession, the Special Cell has said the two men became friends in 2002, following which Yasin introduced Fasih to the Shahbandri (Bhatkal) brothers, Riyaz and Iqbal, who were then active members of SIMI.

After studying engineering in Bhatkal, Karnataka, Fasih went to Saudi Arabia, where Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal kept in touch with him by "email and webchatting", and gave him the task of being a "motivator".

According to the chargesheet, the Jaipur blasts were planned in Saudi Arabia. After the bombings, Fasih and "other members of the Tanzeem had regrouped at Delhi and celebrated the success of the strike which had shaken the Indian government", says the chargesheet.

Investigators got on to Fasih's trail after the arrest of Gauhar Aziz Khomani, an accused in the 2010 Jama Masjid blast, who allegedly confessed that his cousin Fasih from Darbanga was a founding members of the IM. A warrant was issued for Fasih, and Interpol was subsequently informed.
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