Among the various instances since 2005 when Yasin Bhatkal narrowly escaped the law, was an incident in November 2011 when the police surrounded a house that he was sharing with his father-in-law Irshad Khan in Chennai.
He has told the Tamil Nadu Police that he made good his escape by jumping across walls of neighbouring houses, calming an angry dog, wading through a pond and stealing a motorcycle.
The state police has confirmed the sequence of events narrated by the Indian Mujahideen operative, which ended up with him fleeing the country, till he was finally arrested on August 28.
According to sources, Yasin had been on the alert in November 2011 since several of his Delhi-based associates — including Qateel Siddiqui and Gauhar Aziz Khomeni — were rounded up by the Delhi Police Special Cell from hideouts in New Delhi.
Staying in Chennai with Irshad, he became suspicious of everything around him. “At one point, he was on a bus and he suspected that four men were trailing him. He also suspected he had seen one of them near their hideout. His father-in-law said it was just his mind playing tricks. When he saw the man he suspected to be a policeman in the vicinity of his house, he jumped a wall behind the house and fled,” sources said.
When the police raided the house minutes later, they found only Irshad.
Yasin has now told investigators he encountered a dog at one of the houses he jumped into and had to calm it down. He also waded through a pond of waist-high water. “Later he found a motorcycle, stole it and fled towards Bangalore. He stayed at dhabas and finally abandoned the motorcycle on the outskirts of Bangalore near Attibele and made his way to Bihar before escaping to Nepal,” sources said.
Investigators believe that the close shave Yasin had in Chennai may have prompted IM leaders to pull him out of active operations in India. The IM operative was not involved in blasts in the country after the July 2011 Mumbai blasts.
Most IM terror operations since late 2011, including the Pune blasts of August 2012 and the Hyderabad blast of February 2013, are believed to have been the handiwork of Waqas Ahmed and Tahseen alias Monu, who are still on the run, and Asadullah Akhtar, who was arrested along with Yasin.