Panaji, Sep 23 (IANS) A senior Goa Police officer admitted Monday that his force may not be in possession of a mugshot of Yasin Bhatkal, wanted for the German Bakery blast in Pune. Bhatkal had reconnoitered Goa for over a year to conduct terrorist activities there.
Goa Deputy Inspector General of Police O.P. Mishra made the revelation while addressing a press conference at the police headquarters in Panaji Monday.
"I am not sure. I will have to check the files," Mishra said when a reporter asked whether Goa Police had a photograph of the alleged terrorist.
Bhatkal, who was arrested near the Indo-Nepal border last month, had been brought to Goa last week by National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials as part of an evidence corroboration exercise.
Bhatkal, according to the police, had stayed in Goa for nearly a year in 2011-12 at a village called Chapora, known for its prolific drug trade.
A raid at a house he had rented unearthed bomb-making material. Police claimed that Bhatkal had also scouted for potential terror targets in Goa's tourism-friendly villages which are frequented by over half a million foreigners every year.
Bhatkal has been accused of killing over 100 people in over 40 terror strikes which he had orchestrated with other members of the Indian Mujahideen.
Mishra also said that given the ease with which Bhatkal had rented premises in Goa, the police were taking steps to ensure more stringent tenant verification processes.
"We are starting a drive to step up tenant verification procedures now," Mishra said.
Bhatkal, co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, is accused of carrying out several blasts in the country.
He is to be produced before a court in Hyderabad Monday in connection with the blasts in Dilsukhnagar in that city on Feb 21 in which 17 people were killed.
Bhatkal is also accused of the Feb 2010 blast at the German Bakery in Koregaon Park, Pune, which killed 17 persons and wounded at least 60.