Mumbai: In a joint operation with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh (UP) police arrested Dr Jalees Ansari alias 'Dr Bomb' a day after he went missing. An STF team arrested him from Kanpur on Friday. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh said that Ansari was arrested while he was coming out of a mosque in Kanpur. "He had been out on parole. His arrest is a major achievement for the state police," Singh said.
Ansari, who was serving a life sentence in the 1993 Rajasthan bomb blasts case, had been granted a 21-day parole by the Supreme Court and was expected to return to Ajmer Central Jail by Friday evening after the end of the parole period. When he left home for prayer on Thursday and did not return, his family registered a missing complaint with Agripada Police.
While on parole, he was ordered to visit the Agripada Police Station everyday between 10.30am and 12pm to mark his attendance. However, Ansari failed to do so on Thursday during the designated time and his 35-year-old son Jaid Ansari approached the police station with a complaint about his "missing" father.
After the missing complaint was filed, local police, the Mumbai crime branch and the state ATS launched a manhunt, around 11pm on Thursday. The ATS also informed the UP STF, which issued a nationwide high alert.
The ATS informed the UP STF about Ansari's possible visit to his native place in Sant Kabir Nagar district, after which, the surrounding STF units were alerted and patrolling on the Indo-Nepal border was stepped up in anticipation of a possible attempt by him to escape to Nepal.
Acting on a tip-off, Ansari was nabbed from a hideout in the Faithfulgunj area of Kanpur by a squad supervised by the STF director general Amitabh Yash and superintendent of police Vishal Vikram Singh. A search of Ansari's person revealed an Aadhaar card, a pocket diary, a mobile phone and Rs 47,000 in cash.
Ansari was allegedly involved in over 50 blasts in the country. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had first arrested him in 1994 for his alleged role in planting a bomb on the Rajdhani Express. He was later convicted for carrying out blasts at six locations in Rajasthan and sentenced to life imprisonment. He had been lodged in Ajmer jail ever since.
In 1982, Ansari, a resident of Mominpura in Agripada in central Mumbai, completed his MBBS from the Lokmanya Tilak Medical College in Sion. He had served with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation at one point in time. He had received terror and explosives training in Pakistan in the early 1990s, after having come in contact with with the notorious terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda in 1988. He joined the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) in the late 1990s. Influenced by Tunda, Ansari had developed expertise in timer devices and TNT bombs and went on to create terror modules for the Indian Mujahideen, HuJI and the Students Islamic Movement of India. He taught the members of these terror groups to make bombs, earning himself the sobriquet Dr Bomb. Six months before the 1993 serial blasts in Rajasthan, Ansari crossed the Bangladesh border and gained entry into India.
He was the alleged mastermind of several blasts at Malegaon, Ajmer, Pune and Hyderabad, apart from Mumbai, ostensibly as vendetta for the felling of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
He had also been questioned by the NIA in 2011 in connection with the 2008 bomb blast in Mumbai, according to police.