2008 Ahmedabad Serial BlastsThe Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has arrested an alleged SIMI operative, who was wanted in the 2008 serial bomb blasts in the city, from Belgam in Karnataka.

On a specific tip off, ATS officials nabbed one Nasir Rangrez (38), an auto rickshaw driver, from his residence at Khade Bazar road in Belgam yesterday and brought him, ATS said in a statement.

According to officials who nabbed him, Rangrez was part of larger conspiracy, hatched by terror outfits Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), to spread terror in Gujarat to avenge the killings of Muslims during post-Godhra riots.

“Before carrying out the blasts in the city, Rangrez along with many other accused associated with SIMI and IM recruited Muslim men to take revenge of riots and provided them training at Pavagadh in Gujarat, Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and Waghamon in Kerala,” the statement said.

“Rangrez, a member of SIMI, was actively involved in providing training to youths in the terror camp of Waghamon.

During these training sessions, these accused hatched the conspiracy to carry out blasts in Ahmedabad. These accused were led by IM founders Safdar Nagori and Yasin Bhatkal,” it said.

According to ATS sub inspector C R Jadav, Rangrez never came to Ahmedabad to plant the bombs. “Rangrez is a native of Belgam and part of the larger conspiracy of inciting Muslim youths by showing them videos of post-Godhra riots. He along with Nagori, Bhatkal and many other IM and SIMI men hatched the conspiracy during their camp in Waghamon ahead of 2008 serial blasts,” said Jadav, who was part of the team which nabbed Rangrez.

Within span of 70 minutes, as many as 20 bomb blasts rocked different parts of the city on July 26, 2008, killing 56 persons and injuring more than 200. Terror outfit Indian Mujahideen took responsibility for the blasts at that time, the statement added.