Alleged ISIS operative Mustakeem Khan alias Abu Yusuf, arrested in Delhi before he could carry out a “lone wolf” terror strike in the capital, had left his village for Lucknow two days ago on the pretext of getting one of his relatives treated there, a UP police official said here on Saturday.
Soon after coming to know of Khan's arrest in Delhi on Friday night, an Anti-Terrorist Squad team of Uttar Pradesh police swooped on his village Badhya Bhaksai in Balrampur district on Saturday to make enquiries about his criminal antecedent, the official said.
Following an early morning swoop, the UP police team cordoned off the village, restricting entry of outsiders to the village. The police team asked about Khan's antecedent from several of his relatives and neighbours, the official said.
Khan's relatives in the village feigned ignorance on how he reached Delhi despite saying he was going to Lucknow, he added. “Nearly eight years ago, he had left the village to work in Mumbai but he came back after he got injured there in an accident,” the official said.
“Around four years ago, he had opened a cosmetic shop here which he ran briefly,” the official said. A major terror strike was averted with the arrest of Khan from central Delhi's Ridge Road area after a brief exchange of fire, Delhi Police officials said on Saturday.
A suspected ISIS operative, Khan was found in possession with two pressure cooker IEDs which were “fully ready” and just needed to be activated with a timer, said Delhi police after his arrest. Delhi police officials said Khan was on police radar for over a year and he was planning to carry out a “lone wolf” strike at a high footfall area in the national capital.
Khan had planned to strike in the national capital on August 15, but could not do so due to heavy security arrangements, Delhi's Special Cell Deputy Commissioner of Police P S Kushwah said. Khan, meanwhile, was remanded by a Delhi court in police custody for eight days for his custodial interrogation. Security was stepped up in the national capital and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh following the arrest.