The interrogation of a 32-year-old engineering dropout, Faisal Sheikh, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)'s western India commander, arrested for his alleged role in the 11/7 blasts, established that the outfit's city module was being funded by its Pakistan-based leadership through hawala channels.
Investigation also revealed links between the LeT's local module, under Faisal's direct command, with the Kashmir based modules of the outfit.
According to Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS)'s chief joint police commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi, Faisal told his interrogators that he had received 25,000 Rials (Saudi Arabian currency) barely a few days before the 11/7 blasts from Pakistan and 12,000 Rials - through the same channel - just after the blasts. The total sum - 37,000 Rials - is worth Rs. 4.4 lakh.
"The recovery of the money - from Pune and Mumbai - sent to Faisal is an important circumstantial evidence that would help the sleuths zero in on the perpetrators," Raghuvanshi said. The money, according to ATS and Mumbai crime branch officials, was sent to Faisal by LeT's India commander Azam Cheema.
Cheema sent the money through hawala channels to a conduit Rizwan, from Pune. Rizwan befriended Faisal, who also stayed in the city with his family and was pursuing a course in Industrial Electronics at Eklavya College few years ago. Rizwan, in turn, re-routed the money to Faisal. Faisal's brother, Muzammil(22), a software engineer with a global software giant in Bangalore, has also been arrested for his alleged role.
Another brother, computer engineer Rahil is based in UK. Investigations have also revealed that LeT's top commander Raheel Abdul Sheikh, the alleged mastermind of the 11/7 blasts, had visited Kashmir's border towns twice before the blasts. During one such visit, Raheel, said a senior CB officer, had spent "two months" in the border areas, trying to cross over to Pakistan.
The police suspect Raheel was one of the 11/7 plotters along with LeT's Mumbai, Bangladesh and Nepal modules.