New Delhi: Yasin Bhatkal, one of India's most wanted men and the head of the terror group Indian Mujahideen, has been arrested near the border with Nepal.
Bhatkal, 30, was caught in north Bihar, reportedly after a tip-off from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He will be handed over to the NIA. Another Indian Mujahideen member, Asadullah Akhtar, was arrested with him. (Who is Yasin Bhatkal?)
"Yasin Bhatkal was traced to the India-Nepal border by our intelligence agencies last night," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters. It is the second major breakthrough for Indian agencies after the arrest of Lashkar-e-Taiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda over a week ago.
On being caught, he reportedly first claimed he was an engineer working on a project in Nepal, then tried to pass off as a Yunani doctor. But sources say his pictures and information was too specific for him to evade the net this time.
One of India's 12 most wanted men, Bhatkal is accused of terror strikes in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. He was the key conspirator and recruiter of the banned terror outfit and set up terror modules in at least eight cities. (Yasin Bhatkal and Mujahideen linked to these deadly attacks)
The Mumbai police had recently put out posters announcing a 10 lakh reward for information on Bhatkal.
The NIA believes that in 2010, Bhatkal planted the bomb that exploded at the German Bakery in Pune, killing 17 people. He was reportedly seen on CCTV footage of the bakery, wearing a cap to cover his face.
The Indian Mujahideen is sponsored and patronized by Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to intelligence agencies.
Born Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa in the coastal town of Bhatkal, Yasin co-founded the Indian Mujahideen in 2008 with Riyaz Bhatkal and Abdul Subhan Qureshi.
He is believed to be a master of disguise and a skilled escape artist.