Four suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, including a Pakistani national, were arrested in the capital on Sunday night after a fierce gunbattle with police on a busy road near Connaught Place in the heart of the city, foiling a major terrorist plot to carry out strikes in the national capital.
A huge cache of explosives, including three kg RDX, six hand grenades, four detonators, one timer and a revolver, were seized from the militants.
Police responded with nearly 50 rounds of bullets when the terrorists opened fire at them on being challenged near the Ranjit Singh flyover at around 9:00 pm, causing an alarm among several motorists plying nearby.
The arrested terrorists have been identified as Shahid Gaffoor, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan, and Bashir Ahmed, Fayyaz Lone and Abdul Majeed — all hailing from Jammu and Kashmir.
Their specific targets in the capital were not immediately known and their interrogation is on, a senior police official said.
”We are questioning them to find out their motive and their contacts here,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (special cell) Alok Kumar said.
The arrests came against the backdrop of the station master at the Old Delhi Railway station receiving a letter purportedly sent by terrorists outfits Al-Qaida, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), warning of attacks at the residence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Vaishno Devi shrine and Raghunath Temple in Jammu.
Police said they had gathered intelligence on the movement of these terrorists and had been shadowing them since their arrival.
The trio were meeting Gaffoor near the flyover when special cell sleuths challenged them to surrender.
Taken by surprise, Gaffoor fired at the policemen leading to a fierce gunbattle on the busy road. But the terrorists soon gave up and the police arrested them.
Soon afterwards the area was cordoned off by rifle-toting policemen as forensic experts went about collecting evidence from the spot.
The whole area was littered with empty cartidges and shreds of glasses. The trees behind which the ultras had taken cover also bore some bullet marks.
”Nobody was injured in the shootout which lasted for about 15 minutes,” Joint Commissioner of Police Karnal Singh said.
Police recovered four bags which also contained 10,000 US dollars and Rs 50,000.
The recovery of such a huge cache of arms and foreign currency has sent alarm bells ringing for the security establishment.
The terrorists were being questioned at the Lodhi Road office of the special cell.