Abdul Subhan Qureshi, the suspected mastermind behind the 2008 Gujarat serial blasts, worked as a teacher and salesman before coming to India to revive sleeper cells.
Called ‘India’s Bin Laden’, the 46-year-old Qureshi is an operative of the terrorist organisations Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Qureshi, who was nabbed by Delhi Police on Monday, 22 January, was teaching English in Nepal after fleeing India following the blasts.
In 2015, he went to Saudi Arabia on a forged passport and started working as a salesman. According to security officials, he was involved in raising funds in Saudi Arabia for terrorist activities and held meetings with other SIMI-IM members.
An engineer by qualification, Qureshi is an expert in making explosives such as IEDs.
Born in Rampur near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Qureshi alias Tauqeer moved to Mumbai as a child.
He completed his schooling from a Christian missionary school in Byculla and got admission in the Bhartiya Vidyapeeth, Navi Mumbai, in 1992. He obtained a diploma in Industrial Electronics in 1995.
He joined SIMI in 1996, got married in February 1999 and had become fully-radicalised by 2000. After working in a couple of software companies, he disappeared one day.
A prominent name in India’s most wanted list, he carried a reward of Rs 4 lakh for any information leading to his arrest.
He was arrested after a brief exchange of fire in Ghazipur, where he had come to meet a SIMI sympathiser.
Qureshi was trying to revive sleeper cells in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.
It was in Nepal where Qureshi came in contact with Riyaz Bhatkal, the founder of IM. Bhatkal urged him to move to Saudi Arabia.
Besides the Gujarat blasts, Qureshi is also a suspect in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts which killed 209 people. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) will coordinate with the Delhi Special Cell and send a team to interrogate Qureshi.
(With inputs from agencies.)