2008 Ahmedabad bomb blasts mastermind arrested

Qureshi was one of the co-founders of Indian Mujahideen

Debdutta Mitra

January 22, 2018

New Delhi: The Special Cell of Delhi Police on Monday claimed to have arrested Abdul Subhan Qureshi aka Kasim, the mastermind of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. The police said Qureshi, a wanted Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative was arrested after  a brief exchange of fire in Gazipur area of Noida near New Delhi.

“We have arrested Abdul Subhan Qureshi who is also the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen,” said DCP Pramod Kushwaha from the Special Cell speaking in a press conference. He added that Qureshi was earlier living in Nepal on forged documents. “He came back to India to revive the  Indian Mujahideen,” said Kushwaha. Qureshi has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

On the operation that led to Qureshi’s arrest which involved an exchange of 14 bullets between him and the police, Kushwaha said they had received information a week ago after which the police were preparing to nab him. “On Saturday, we received a specific tipoff that he would be coming to meet a friend near Paper Market. We formed a team and placed them at different points in the area. Around 8.30 on Monday morning, a car was seen heading towards the market and was signalled to stop by the policemen standing there,” said Kushwah. Qureshi, however, did not stop and drove away and entered a lane. A police vehicle chased him into the lane which was closed from the other side.

 “Once he entered the lane, he found that his exit route was blocked. The police team told him to surrender but he came out of the car, took out a pistol and opened fire at the police team, which shot back at him. In all, 14 rounds were exchanged of which nearly four were fired by Qureshi before he ran out of bullets. No one was injured,” said Kushwah.

There were about 25 policemen in the lane after the special cell team reached there. Finally, Qureshi was overpowered. “On searching him, we found a few documents in the car and his pockets which were seized,” said Kushwah adding that the documents were being examined. The pistol was also seized and the car impounded. The car was found to be stolen from UP. Police refused to disclose the name of Qureshi’s friend he was going to meet before he was nabbed.

Qureshi (46), who is known as India’s Osama bin Laden, hails from Mumbai’s Mira Road area and was an active member of the banned organisation, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The extremist, who was absconding to the  police forces in Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra is also a suspect in the the 2006 Mumbai train blasts along with various terror attacks in Delhi, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. Along with the National Investigative Agency (NIA)’s most wanted list with a bounty of Rs 4 lakh, he was also had a Red Corner Notice by the Interpol and a arrest warrant issued by a Gujarat court.

Qureshi was born to a lower middle class family  in Mumbai and attended Antonio D’Souza High School following a course in Industrial Electronics. After his name came up in the Gujarat bomb blast, his parents, Haji Qureshi and Zubeida had  defended him and said that they had not seen him for many years. However, his mother had added that if Qureshi should be hanged, if found guilty. He is married to Arifa Begum Qureshi and has a son and two daughters.

56 were killed and over 200 injured when 21 blasts ripped through Ahmedabad on the evening of  July 26 in 2008 with the Indian Mujahideen taking responsibility for the blasts. Qureshi is reportedly the same person who used to sign as ‘Al-Arabi’ in most of the e-mails that came  as warnings and threats before and after the terror attacks.