January 6, 2006. Mohammed Ramzan Haji (64), Kurisind Ahmed Lone (32) and Arshad Hussain Badru (29) were waiting for someone at Sagar Cafe near Mumbai Central station. Just then, a team of officers from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested them.
The ATS found that the three Kashmiris possessed detonators, electronic timers, a .32 bore pistol and six live cartridges. They revealed they were in Mumbai at instructions from Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) commander Salauddin.
During the probe, the ATS learnt the three were in constant touch with Maulana Ghulam Ilahi Baksh Yahya (47),former imam of Haj House in Mumbai. The ATS arrested Yahya on January 13, 2006.
The allegations against Baksh were that he helped raise funds for terror activities and arranged accommodation for Haji and was in touch with the other two arrested operatives.
The ATS touted the cleric’s arrest as a breakthrough, claiming Baksh was the main player in the plot to conduct subversive activities in the city.
The ATS has said Baksh was a fundraiser for LeT. They alleged he was involved in illegal money transfers and was raising money from some politicians in Mumbai. The money was to be used to finance terror activities, not just in the city but also in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The ATS had claimed that the trio had Rs 35 lakh which were in notes of lower denomination notes and the Imam had helped them convert the money into notes of higher denomination,” said Mobin Solkar, Baksh’s lawyer.
The ATS had also alleged that the cleric was instrumental in arranging accommodation for the three Kashmiri accused, who were sentenced to seven years in jail on Saturday.
ATS officials refused to comment on the outcome of the case or Baksh’s acquittal.