Yasin Bhatkal, the 34-year-old alleged co-founder of the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and one of the five responsible for the 2013 Dilsukhnagar twin blasts case was sentenced to death by an NIA special court in Hyderabad on Monday.
Over the years, government agencies and the media have created a larger-than-life narrative about Yasin Bhatkal, that of a terror mastermind who plotted with precision and executed ruthlessly.
However, his younger brother, 28-year-old Abdul Samad, claims that his brother is innocent and has nothing to do with the Dilsukhnagar bomb blast – or any other terror activity.
“First of all, his name is not Yasin Bhatkal, his name is Mohammad Ahmed, we don’t even know who is Yasin Bhatkal and why he has been roped into this case. He has nothing to do with the bomb blast,” Samad says, like it a matter of fact. He alleges that his brother has been framed in the case and intends to appeal in High Court against the verdict.
According to Samad, in 2006 his brother Ahmed (Yasin) went missing and broke all contacts with his family. “He was in Dubai with my father. After a tiff between the two, he came back to India but did not contact us. After that, we met him only when he was arrested,” he says.
Samad says that his father was running a store in Dubai then, and Ahmed was then working at a sports store.
Samad claims that his brother told them that in 2011, he got married to Zahida Khan in Delhi and later shifted to Nepal. “My brother used to help people by giving them Ayurvedic medicine at that time, he was not even in Hyderabad,” Samad claims.
While Samad claims that there was no contact between them and Ahmed, intelligence agencies have said in the past that they monitored his calls for six months, from Nepal to various places in India, including his native town Bhatkal, when he spoke to his relatives and accomplices. It was the calls which led the Intelligence Bureau to his location in Nepal.
“From 2014, when we met him, to this day, he has been saying that he is innocent, and I trust his words,” says Samad, “We do not trust the judgment of the NIA court.”
“But I am not scared, I know he has not done anything wrong and I am sure he will get justice. Allah is watching everything and I trust his judgment. However, it was suspicious that all five of them were sentenced to death, no imprisonment, how can this be?” he asks.
He also alleges that Yasin was not in Hyderabad at the time of the blast.
Samad also denies the existence of Riyaz Bhatkal, alleged to be Yasin’s elder brother and a terror accomplice.
“We are two brothers, Ahmed and I, who is this Riyaz I don't know. All this information is incorrect,” he says dismissively.
“I have also been through a similar situation. I was framed with the accusation of involvement in German Bakery blast in Pune. As I was innocent and they couldn’t prove anything. I know my brother will also be proven innocent,” he said.
In February 2010, a bomb exploded at the German Bakery in the city of Pune, killing 17 people and leaving over 50 injured. In June 2010, the Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Abdul Samad from Bhatkal in Karnataka as one of the suspects for the Pune blast.
But shortly after his arrest, Samad’s parents held a press conference in which they released videos and pictures of Samad attending a wedding in Bhatkal on the day of the blast. Samad was later released on bail.
“Since then, Ahmed has been framed in the name of Yasin Bhatkal by officials,” Samad alleges.