Four alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives suspected to be involved in the Patna blasts stayed in Raipur for over a fortnight immediately after the incident and left on November 15, a day after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modis rally here, according to the Chhattisgarh Police. This came to light after the police reportedly busted a sleeper cell of the IM with the arrest of seven suspected members in the last few days.
ADG (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta told The Indian Express that the Patna blasts suspects, Haider Ali alias Abdullah, Numan Ansari, Taufeeq Ansari and Mojibullah, were provided shelter in Raipur. The Chhattisgarh Police have confirmed the identities of the four with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Bihar Police.
Meanwhile, the seven who have been arrested have been identified as Umer Siddiqui, a private tutor, Azizullah, a boutique owner, Abdul Wahid, an auto driver, Mohammad Ajiz, a property dealer, Roshan alias Javed, a glass merchant, Raju Garage, who runs a garage, and Habibullah, a madrasa teacher.
Siddiqui, who was arrested with Wahid on November 14 night, reportedly confessed during interrogation that he had sheltered the four suspects. According to Siddiquis reported statement, Abdullah called him up after the October 27 Patna blasts. The four suspects, according to the police, arrived in Raipur via Rourkela and stayed with Siddiqui and Wahid for a few days. Later, Siddiqui reportedly arranged a rented house for them in Sanjay Nagar. The Patna blasts suspects reportedly fled hours before the police raided the house.
Gupta said the seven who have been arrested were under surveillance for over three years. While they were found to be involved in some organisational activities for SIMI, an alert was raised following a reported phone conversation between Siddiqui and another person in Arabic on October 17, when some words like qurbani (sacrifice), Gujarat, and Narendra Modi came up. The recording of the conversation has been sent to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for translation.
On November 12 and November 14, hours before Modis rally, police reportedly noted some conversations between Umer and unidentified callers about some meetings to be held in Raipur. Siddiquis wife, Saima Fatima, is also reported to have got a call from a number in Ranchi which the police claim belonged to a Patna blast suspect.
Meanwhile, an NIA team has arrived in Raipur.