Azharuddin alias Azhar alias Chemical Ali, a Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operative wanted in connection with the 2013 Bodhgaya and Patna bomb blasts, was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police, an officer said on Saturday. Chemical Ali was arrested from the Hyderabad airport after he landed from Saudi Arabia.

Ali, 32, a native of Raipur, has been wanted by the Chhattisgarh Police and its Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) wing since the last six years.

“Acting on a specific input, he was arrested by a joint team of Chhattisgarh Police and its ATS wing from Hyderabad airport on Friday after he landed from Saudi Arabia,” Raipur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arif Sheikh said.

Ali is suspected to have given shelter to terrorists involved in the Bodhgaya and Patna blasts.

“In December 2013, Raipur Police had busted a module of the banned outfit, SIMI, in the state capital and over a period of time arrested 17 people, including SIMI sleeper cell head Umer Siddiqui, in connection with the Bodhgaya and Patna blasts,” the SSP said.

Another accused, identified as Azhar (believed to be Ali), who had allegedly given shelter to terrorists involved in theses blasts, had managed to give police a slip and subsequently fled the country, he added.

“After getting information that Azhar alias Ali had moved to Saudi Arabia on a fake passport and has been working there as a driver cum assistant at a super market, the state police were keeping an eye on him,” the officer revealed.

The police received input on Ali’s arrival at Hyderabad and nabbed Ali after forming a special team of police and ATS.

SSP told that the team recovered two driving licenses, a boarding pass and a voter ID card from Ali.

He further told that Ali will be produced at the local court and the police will seek a two-day remand for Ali to interrogate him which is likely to reveal crucial details like if he had any support base in Hyderabad.

On July 7, 2013, the world renowned Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya was rocked by a series of blasts. Though there were no causalities, but several people including some monks were injured.

The special NIA court had convicted five Indian Mujahideen (IM) militants in the 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts case, who were sentenced to life imprisonment by the court in 2018.