NEW DELHI: After the arrest of 26/11 handler Abu Jundal, India is on the verge of another success in Saudi Arabia having convinced the authorities there to deport Bihar engineer Fasih Mahmood, accused of carrying out terror strikes in India and recruiting youths for terror-related activities.
Highly placed sources in the government said India issued an identity certificate to the Saudi authorities for Fasih last week after Pakistani agencies too laid claim by stating that Fasih had a valid Pakistani passport. Pakistani agencies had made a similar claim for Jundal.
Sources said US pressure helped in swinging the case in India’s favour.
Another suspect to be deported with Fasih
Saudi authorities said they had the option of ignoring the identity certificate issued by India through the ministry of external affairs for terror suspect Fasih Mahmood to counter Pakistan’s claim that he was a Pakistani national. Sources said that US pressure helped swing the case in India’s favour. In fact, it was Washington that had worked on the Saudis to get Fasih detained in the first place.
It is also learnt that the Saudis have agreed to deport another Indian terror suspect along with Fasih, but his identity has not been confirmed yet. Indian authorities suspect Fasih is linked with Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal, leaders of LeT proxy Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Sources say the two absconding terrorists won Fasih over when he was studying engineering in Karnataka. The engineer from Bihar’s Darbhanga district has since tried to find new recruits for LeT plots. A CBI team is likely to be sent to Riyadh to bring him back.
Sources said they had to face stiff opposition from Pakistani agencies bent on proving that Fasih was a Pakistani national. He was even said to have a passport issued from Lahore. “Fasih was obviously in regular touch with agencies in Pakistan which tried to protect him,” said a source. Pakistani agencies apparently wanted Fasih to be either released or sent to Pakistan.
Indian agencies said his interrogation will be crucial because as a prime recruiter for terrorist activities in India he has knowledge of several sleeper modules operating across the country. “Keeping that in mind he is no less a catch than Jundal,” added the official.
According to the Interpol Red Corner Notice issued for Fasih, his name surfaced in the Pune’s German Bakery blast case followed by the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore. The notice says that he has been a member of Indian Mujahideen since 2003. He is alleged to have been involved in the 2010 Jama Masjid blast and shootout cases.