Delhi blasts planned to the last detail: police

September 21st, 2008 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) The young man who masterminded the deadly serial bombings here that killed 24 people was a meticulous schemer, who while posing as an innocent student advised his fellow conspirators how to dress and behave, down to the last detail. And he was so suspicious that he did not trust even his accomplices completely, investigators said Sunday.Just eight days after five bombs went off in the Indian capital, the police have managed to piece together valuable information about Atif Amin, 24, originally a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and said to be a key operative of the shadowy Indian Mujahideen.

The police continue to interrogate the five men linked to the Friday shootout in Jamia Nagar. Zia-ur-Rahman, Mohammed Shakil and Shakir Nissar, arrested Sunday, told their interrogators that Atif worked out each minute detail before they set off to carry out the bombings during the evening rush hour at three crowded places Sep 13.

The explosions, one in Karol Bagh, two in Connaught Place and two in the M block market of Greater Kailash-I, killed 24 people and injured 124.

Atif and his accomplice Sajid were killed in the Friday shootout in their rented house in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi. Two men escaped from the site. A third suspect, Mohammed Saif, was caught. Another suspect, Zeeshan, was arrested later elsewhere in the city. All of them were part of a 13-member module of the Indian Mujahideen, the police say.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) H.G.S. Dhaliwal described Atif as the brain behind the Delhi blasts.

“Atif and his men first did the recce of the all the blast sites and chose the evening time knowing it would inflict maximum damage,” Dhaliwal told IANS.

Atif not only indoctrinated the others but also taught them how to escape a possible police dragnet.

“Atif was very sharp and never told the others much about himself. But he told them how to behave if the police caught them before the blasts.

“He asked them to remain calm and confident before the police and behave like students. He advised them to act normally.

“He did not want to take any chances, so he told them to wear jeans. He briefed them not to change their daily routine so as not to arouse any suspicion. He also directed them not to shave before the blasts because the beard would help them to disguise their identity,” Dhaliwal added.

Atif also ensured that nobody in his group come to know about his own involvement in the earlier terror strikes in the country, the police said.

“He only talked what he wanted to. When his accomplices asked him about the source of explosives, funding, weapons and other people, Atif snapped and told them to focus on their job and not to ask needless questions,” said Dhaliwal, the seniormost officer of the south district.

On the day of the blasts, the terrorists set out of their Jamia Nagar hideout carrying each bomb in a grey colour polythene bag. This went into another similar looking polythene bag, and that was eventually put into a school bag.

And when they left the bombs in garbage cans in Connaught Place, they spread banana peels over them. “They thought nobody would lift the banana peels to check anything,” Dhaliwal said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh told a press conference Sunday that Atif was very discreet and never gave his mobile phone number to even Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Taqueer, a Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operative suspected to be behind the email messages sent to the media just before the terror attacks.

Dhaliwal said Atif asked one of his men to stay at the Jamia Nagar house on the day of the blasts to check if any outsider - like salesmen - visited the house in their absence.

“Atif did not trust even his men, fearing they might betray him. He only trusted Mohammed Shakil to some extent and directed him to keep an eye on others. He never allowed others to leave the house (on their own).”

Atiq was also very possessive of a suitcase he had in the house. Eventually when the police pierced it open, it was found to contain heavy pellets — meant to kill.

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