With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and police from four states on his trail, Ariz Khan carried a total reward of at least Rs 20 lakh on his head
The Delhi Police on Wednesday said it had arrested a wanted Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative who had purportedly escaped from the scene of the 2008 Batla House encounter in the national Capital, and was allegedly involved in serial blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Faizabad, Lucknow and Jaipur.
The police said 32-year-old Ariz Khan was apprehended by the Delhi Police special cell from the Indo-Nepal border on Tuesday evening.
Khan was working in Nepal as a primary school teacher, they added.
“He was an expert bomb maker… He was the mastermind of operations that caused the deaths of 165 persons and injured another 536. He was directly involved in these operations,” said Pramod Kushwah, deputy commissioner of police (special cell), giving the reported cumulative figure of the toll in the serial blasts in the six cities between November 2007 and September 2008.
With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and police from four states on his trail, Khan carried a total reward of at least Rs 20 lakh on his head, the Delhi Police said.
Khan’s arrest comes less than a month after Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer — another accused in the Delhi serial blasts case — was apprehended after an alleged encounter in east Delhi on January 22. The information given by Qureshi on Khan’s whereabouts led to his arrest from Banbasa town in Uttarakhand, police said. Delhi’s police commissioner Amulya Patnaik said the two arrests were “significant catches”.
According to the police, the Azamgarh native had settled in Nepal a month after allegedly escaping from Delhi following the Batla House encounter. He married a local woman and was working as a teacher at a primary school , police said.
“On 17 November, 2007, Khan and his associates carried out bombings in three courts in Uttar Pradesh as revenge for lawyers thrashing three Jaish-e-Mohammed terror accused and for refusing to represent them in court. Five minutes before the blasts, the IM owned up to their involvement through emails to media organisations,” Kushwah said.
“Khan had personally planted explosives in the M-block market in south Delhi’s Greater Kailash. Apart from GK, blasts occurred in Connaught Place and Karol Bagh. Unexploded bombs were recovered from CP, India Gate and Parliament Street. Thirty persons were killed and 100 injured in those blasts in the city,” said the officer.
Six days later, Khan and his four associates were allegedly hiding in Batla House in south Delhi’s Okhla area when the police cornered them. Two suspects and an inspector were killed in the exchange of fire.