Bhatkal’s grilling reveals IM is way ahead of security agencies in tech use

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Bangalore, Mon Sep 16: Investigations against arrested Indian Mujahideen operatives Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar have revealed that security agencies, seeking to keep tabs on terror activities, may be far behind their targets when it comes to tech competence.

Encryption of messages whether on e-mail or chats, dead dropping of e-mails and use of GPRS phones are among the methods being employed by Yasin and company to prevent detection by security agencies.

The nature of the technology used and operations of the IM have also led investigators to believe that it is aligned with the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan, which is known to be a tech-savvy terror outfit, rather than al-Qaeda, to which the IM has been linked in recent times.

Several agencies reviewing the timeline of movement of Yasin and his missing associates — Waqas alias Javed and Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu — have found that they were close on the heels of the IM men on several occasions but never managed to pick up the crucial intelligence to nab them. Tahseen Akhtar is now suspected to be the interim leader of the IM in India.

While Yasin was suspected to have been out of India since the Mumbai triple blasts of July 13, 2011, sources said the others have been moving around in cities like Mangalore, Belgaum and Hyderabad but managed to remain under the radar of security agencies.

“Every small message among them is encrypted. The use of regular phones is almost non-existent. They use only GPRS phones. They are a small group but very tech savvy. State police forces are two decades behind in technology usage to track such covert operations,” security sources said.

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