After dodging the police for 17 years, Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan alias Hamza (40) was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch on Friday.
Hamza, one of the prime accused in the 1993 serial blasts, is an aide of Mohammed Dossa, a key player in the bombings.
Hamza was held in Kopri, Navi Mumbai. He had returned from Oman on February 3.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria confirmed the arrest saying the Central Bureau of Investigation was interrogating Hamza.
The fugitive, who carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head, had coordinated the landing of arms and ammunition for the blasts at Dighi.
He also helped transport them by hiding them in cavities in vehicles, Maria said. “He even hid some guns and hand grenades at his residence,” Maria said.
Hamza lived in Taximen’s Colony at Kurla at that time. He was also very close to Dawood aide Mustafa Majnu.
Maria said that Hamza escaped to Dubai on March 17, 1993. “He travelled to Pakistan three to four times between 1996 and 1998 and met underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, co-accused Tiger Memon, gangsters Abu Salem and Anees Ibrahim, and other D-gang members,” Maria said. “He used stay at Dawood’s residence.”
Police said Hamza even attended the weddings of Dawood’s brothers, Humayun and Mustaqim.
Maria said Hamza, who traded in cell phone parts, first fled to Nepal and got a passport in the name of Ferozeuddin. He then travelled to Dubai, China, Qatar, and Oman.
In 2004, when Hamza’s passport was to expire, he came to New Delhi and took a train to Mumbai. He went to his parents’ house in Koparkhairane.
Hamza got an Indian passport in the name of Hamza Abdul Rashid in 2005. “He would visit India two to three times a year,” a source said. Hamza stayed in Colaba, Kurla and Navi Mumbai during his visits.
“Three months ago, we had received information that he had come to India but we missed him by two days,” Maria said.
Sources said Hamza was a student of Commerce, but dropped out before graduation.