LUCKNOW: The Kushinagar mosque blast has unfolded as a major incident in which the intelligence agencies are digging deep to rule out suspected terror links. Following the leads so far, while UP police arrested suspected mastermind Haji Qutubuddin from Indo-Nepal border in Gorakhpur on late Thursday night, his grandson Ashfaq, an ex-defence personnel, was picked up by the UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) in Hyderabad on Friday.
Ashfaq was present at the site of blast in a mosque at Bairagi Patti village under Turk Patti police station area of Kushinagar district in eastern UP on November 11.
Haji Qutubuddin, who, the probe agencies believe, had brought around 10-12 kg of explosive to the village mosque in April this year, was arrested by the local police while trying to cross over to Nepal from the Gorakhpur border on Thursday night.
On the other hand, his grandson, Ashfaq, who was serving in the rank of major in the medial wing of Army in Hyderabad and he took voluntary retirement in 2017, was nabbed for his suspected complicity in the blast as he was present at the spot on the fateful day but pushed off to Hyderabad immediately after the incident.
After the arrest of Haji Qutubuddin and picking up of Ashfaq, now altogether, six people, including three minors, are in police custody in connection with the blast case in which no one was injured.
As per the highly-placed police sources, Haji Qutubuddin, a native of Mau and a retired employee of the state PWD, had brought the explosives with the help of his accomplices including Asfaq and stored in the mosque in April, this year.
Meanwhile, as per the sources in ATS, which is investigating the matter, Ashfaq was brought to Kushinagar from Hyderabad and he was being interrogated by the probe agencies along with Haji Qutubuddin.
Meanwhile, the four persons, including a cleric Maulana Azeemuddin alias Azeem, Izhar Ansari, Aashik Ansari and Javed, arrested in connection with the blast on November 12, were handed over to ATS on a 48-hour remand by Judicial Magistrate KP Singh on Friday.
All the accused, booked under Section 5 of Explosives Act and sections 147, 295, 120B of IPC along with Clause 7 of Criminal Act, will now be in ATS remand till Sunday morning.
However, the UP police and intelligence agencies are also looking for a possible link, if any, between Kushinagar mosque blast and the one that took place in a locked house in Bijnore, Western UP, when a thief allegedly broke open the door and went inside for theft on November 12.
A powerful blast shook one of the rooms in the house leaving the thief's body with 80 per cent burns. He later died in a Meerut hospital.