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Police to seek hawala operators' help

It is suspected that the culprits got huge funding from patrons abroad.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 11:24 IST

In an attempt to crack the source of foreign funding to the July 11 train bombings, police would seek the help of hawala operators in the city, as it seized a large amount of foreign money, allegedly received by a key LeT operative, who is arrested in connection with the blasts.

Investigators suspect that the Lashkar-e-Taiba module that executed the blasts, received large funding from their patrons abroad and the money was routed through hawala operators in Mumbai and around, police officials said.

As the police is yet to find out who the real perpetrators of the blasts are, an attempt is being made by the Anti-Terrorism Squad to take help of hawala operators to find out the source of the illegitimate foreign money that has come into India in the past six months to one year, and check if it had landed in the hands of subversive elements, they said.

Police, thus, intends to trace more subversive elements, whom it eventually plans to round up and interrogate them about the blasts. 

"We are taking hawala operators into confidence. We are telling them that we need your help in this case, and we have no intention to prosecute you in this case. We want to trace foreign money received in the past six-seven months and who received the money", a top Mumbai police official said.

Mumbai Police Commissioner, AN Roy said that ATS was taking help of hawala operators to trace origin and end of foreign funds received in the past few months.

Faizal Sheikh, a senior LeT functionary in the region, arrested in late July, received 37,000 Saudi riyals (approx Rs 4.5 lakh) from his brother who stays in Riyadh that arose suspicion of police since 25,000 riyals were received four days before the blasts and remaining 12,000 riyals was received a day after the blasts.

Investigations have revealed that Faizal had personal expenses of nearly Rs 50,000 every month. Even if these expenses were sponsored by foreign funding, then Faizal is suspected to have received more than Rs 30 lakh in the past five years. With Faizal suspected to be instrumental in furthering LeT activities in the region, the quantum of money received by him from foreign countries could run into several lakhs of rupees, sources said.

Meanwhile, the ATS is also questioning Faizal's cousin Khaleda Khan (53). Khaleda received 12,000 riyals from Saudi Arabia that were meant for Faizal, the sources said, adding that she was being questioned in connection with the money, and there was no way to link her with the blasts case.