The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) investigating last year’s July 13 triple blasts case on Friday informed a magistrate court that the hawala money used for the explosions was routed through Saudi Arabia.
The admission, for the first time on record, came while the agency was seeking extension of the police custody of two alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives — Haroon Naik and Kanwar Pathrija — who are said to have facilitated transaction of Rs10 lakh for the near-simultaneous bomb blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar that killed 27 persons and injured around 127.
The Mazgaon court remanded Pathrija and Naik in police custody till February 18. The court also remanded the other two accused — Naquee Ahmed and Nadeem Sheikh — in judicial custody till February 24 in the Opera House blast case, and until February 17 in the Zaveri Bazaar blast case. The police have registered separate cases for the three blasts.
The ATS prosecutor also told the court that the diaries recovered from Pathrija’s Ghaziabad residence are crucial links in the hawala racket and forensic investigation is being done on the seized material, which also includes SIM cards and mobile phones. The ATS has also indicated more people are linked to the racket.
The ATS, which was so far investigating the blast at Opera House, has now turned its attention to the one at Zaveri Bazaar. While seeking fresh custody of Ahmed and Sheikh, the ATS prosecutor told the court that the agency is investigating the role of the two in stealing the scooter used in the blast, and also where the explosives came from.
Don’t know why I have been arrested: Haroon
Mumbai: Haroon Rashid Naik, who the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) says is a top Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and has met former Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, has told the court that he does not know why he has been arrested.
According to the ATS, Naik helped finance last year’s July 13 triple blasts in the city, and is among the top four IM commanders.
When the magistrate court, which was hearing the ATS’ plea for his police remand, explained to him that he has been arrested for the blast at Opera House and his name has cropped up in ATS investigations, Naik told the court he is not linked to the case and has no knowledge about it.
According to the ATS, Naik has undergone military-style training in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that it was IM co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal, the alleged mastermind of the 13/7 blasts, who had sent him for it in 2000-2001.
He met Bin Laden and Lasher-e-Taiba chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Laqvi, wanted for masterminding the 26/11 terror attacks during the training, ATS has claimed.