Five death convicts who are also Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives—Yasin Bhatkal, Zia Ur Rahaman, Asadullah Akhtar, Tahseen Akhtar and Ajaz Shaik—will soon be taken to the high security Tihar prison in New Delhi. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which arrested them and ensured their conviction, will move a transit petition before the special court to this extent and they will be in New Delhi after Christmas.

These hardened criminals will be kept in Tihar Central Jail for two reasons. One, they will be tried in four bomb blast cases across the country in the last eight years, which caused at least 30 deaths and left many injured. Second, the Cherlapalli Central Prison, where they are lodged at present, is not a secure place to keep death row inmates, sources in the Telangana prisons department told this newspaper.

The NIA fought hard for their conviction. These terrorists claimed 18 lives and injured another 132 in twin bomb blasts at a crowded marketplace at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad on 21 February 2013. The NIA is also investigating other bomb blasts in the country caused by the IM.

Presently the blast cases of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Karnataka are in the final stages and the presence of these IM militants would ensure completion of the case, said a senior police official with a special investigation team (SIT) in Telangana. This SIT originally took up the Dilsukhnagar blasts case which was later transferred to the NIA.

Additional public prosecutor K. Surender Rao who argued the NIA’s case in the Dilsukhnagar blast case told this newspaper that the agency might seek death penalties for them in other crimes, too.

However, the ruling of other trial courts in other cases won’t have any impact on their death penalties in the Hyderabad blasts case. The NIA sources are satisfied with the awarding of death penalties to the five IM operatives. After triggering a series of blasts that killed around 100 people and injured around 200 others, the terrorists, aided and abetted by their mentors from across the borders have been shocked at the death penalties, NIA sources said.

The confessions made before the trial court by the convicts in the case would be helpful in solving other blast cases since 2007.

Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar were senior members in the terror network and they had a lot of information on  IM modules across the country and the methods adopted by their mentor Riyaz Bhatkal, who is believed to be in Karachi, Pakistan.

Cherlapalli Central Prison DIG, A. Narasimha told The Sunday Guardian on Thursday that the five IM convicts were presently being kept in solitary confinement like any other death row convicts as per the prison manual.

The jail authorities have stepped up security in and around the prison in view of the recent jailbreaks at other places in the country. The DIG said that around 120 security personnel would be deployed to monitor the cells where the IM convicts are lodged.

The decision to shift them also followed reports that radical Muslim groups might stoke passions among local Muslim youths on the issue. But Telangana cops have heaved a sigh of relief that there is no significant backlash from the local Muslims. Except Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who objected to the “near fast track completion” of trial of the Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts case by the NIA, there is no other criticism or protests by the Muslim groups. Owaisi pointed out why the NIA hadn’t taken interest to complete the trial of other previous terror cases where Hindus are accused. At the same time, Owaisi has made it clear that he was not objecting to the conviction of the IM operatives in the Dilsukhnagar blasts case.