Akshardham attack's prime conspirator' arrested by Gujarat ATS

Muhammad Yasin Bhat, alleged prime conspirator of the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack here, was arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad from Anantnag in south Kashmir on Friday, an official said.

Thirty-three persons, including a National Security Guard (NSG) commando, died when two attackers opened fire inside the Akshardham temple complex here on September 24, 2002.

The two attackers were gunned down by NSG commandos.

Bhat, an alleged operative of Lashkar-e- Taiba, had fled to Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) after the attack, according to officials.

He was nabbed following a tip-off that he had returned to Jammu and Kashmir and was working at a timber warehouse in Anantnag, the Gujarat Home Department said in a release.

The arrest was made with the help of local police, it added.

After obtaining his transit remand from a court there, the ATS team arrived with Bhat at the Ahmedabad airport on Friday evening, the release added.

As per the ATS, Bhat played a key role in hatching the conspiracy to attack the temple, and also supplied arms and ammunition, including AK-47 assault rifles, to other accused who had come to Ahmedabad by train from Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court, in May 2014, acquitted six persons arrested earlier in the case, including three who were facing death sentence.