Arrested IM men had spoken about attacks on Hyderabad, Bodh Gaya

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NEW DELHI: Bodh Gaya has turned out to be the second place in succession where blasts have occurred after arrested Indian Mujahideen operatives revealed during interrogation that they had reconnoitered the spot. The first was the blasts in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar in February.

Blasts taking place in the sequence of reconnaissance done by IM operatives has not only indicated involvement of the outfit in the blasts but also lent credibility to the information revealed by the operatives about other targets, including those in Delhi and Mumbai.

IM operatives Syed Maqbool, Asad Khan, Langde Irfan and Imran Khan — all arrested by Delhi Police special cell — had revealed during interrogation in October 2012 that Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad and Buddhist temples in Bodh Gaya were reconnoitered by them on instructions from Pakistan-based IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal. Both the places saw blasts and now security agencies are seriously looking at other targets revealed by them who are turning out to be a treasure trove of information.

Based on their interrogation, places in Delhi and Mumbai could be IM’s next target. The four had revealed that they had also conducted reconnaissance at Delhi’s Sadar Bazar and Chandni Chowk for they are both very crowded areas and blasts could lead to mass casualties.

Similarly, in Mumbai, the group had reconnoitered the McDonald’s eatery at Andheri station, sari shops and fast food joints near Santa Cruz station, Dadar bus stop, CST station and Panvel station apart from spots in Bandra and Jogeshwari. All these places attract large crowds.

All the reconnaissance plans had the approval and support of the Bhatkal brothers and sources said a meeting for Bodh Gaya recce was held in Hyderabad last year at the house of Obaid-ur-Rehman, a key accused in the twin blasts in Hyderabad. Post this, the special cell had sent an intelligence input last October to Bihar’s director general of police and the superintendent of police in Gaya district about a possible strike.

Delhi Police sources said the IM planned to target Bodh Gaya in a bid to internationalize their relevance.

Maqbool, who is in Tihar jail, was questioned by NIA after the Hyderabad blasts and may be questioned again.

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