Suspected Islamic State operative had left village two days ago to get relative treated in Lucknow, says UP cop

Balrampur: A Special Cell team of Delhi Police took alleged Islamic State operative Mustakeem Khan to his village Badhya Bhaksai in Balrampur district on Saturday evening for the scrutiny of his various claims, a top UP police officer said.

Mustakeem Khan alias Abu Yusuf, allegedly planning to carry out a lone wolf terror strike in the capital, was arrested in Delhi on Friday night after a brief exchange of fire with a Delhi police team.

Khan was taken to his village on Saturday evening by a Delhi Police team after he was remanded in police custody by a court there, a senior officer of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of UP police told PTI in Lucknow.

The accused was taken to his village to verify his various claims from his relatives and neighbours in his village, he said.

Following communication from the Delhi Police of its intention to take the accused to his village, a UP ATS team had swooped on the village earlier in the day and cordoned it off to restrict the entry of outsiders to prevent any trouble in the area, said the UP police officer.

During enquiries in the village, it transpired that Khan had left his village for Lucknow two days ago on the pretext of getting one of his relatives treated there, he added.

But it could not be ascertained how he reached the National Capital where he was arrested on Friday night from the central Delhi’s Ridge Road area, he said.

Khan was found in possession with two pressure cooker IEDs which were fully ready and just needed to be activated with a timer, the Delhi Police had said earlier on the day after securing his police custody for eight days from a court there.

Khan’s relatives in the village feigned ignorance on how he reached Delhi despite saying he was going to Lucknow, the ATS officer added.

He said the accused was taken to his village, besides some other places, and was intensively questioned.

The Delhi Police team also asked about Khan’s antecedent from several of his relatives and neighbours in his village, the official said.

During the enquiries, it transpired that nearly eight years ago, he had left the village to work in Mumbai but he came back after he got injured there in an accident, the official said.

Around four years ago, he had opened a cosmetic shop here which he ran briefly, the official said.

A major terror strike was averted with the arrest of Khan from Central Delhi’s Ridge Road area after a brief exchange of fire, Delhi Police officials said earlier on Saturday.

The Delhi Police said Khan was on police radar for over a year. He was planning to carry out a lone wolf strike at a high footfall area in the National Capital, it said.

Khan had planned to strike in the National Capital on 15 August, but could not do so due to heavy security arrangements, Delhi’s Special Cell Deputy Commissioner of Police PS Kushwah had said.

Security was stepped up in the National Capital and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh following the arrest.

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