Muzzafar Kola, a native of Bhatkal who runs a firm Muzaffar Kola Enterprises LLC in Dubai, has been named as the key hawala operator in the chargesheet. The inclusion of Kola’s name in the charge sheet comes as a surprise, because it indicates a link between Mumbai’s underworld with the dreaded terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).
A detailed analysis of suspicious mobile numbers by ATS revealed that Kola had channelled Rs 10 lakh to Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal through the Delhi-based hawala operator Kanwar Nain Wazirchand Pathrija. The money was used to execute the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts.
This is not the first time that Kola and his family members have been involved with men identified as terrorists.
In 2003, Muzaffar Kola was involved in the hawala transfer of a ransom amount of Rs 3 crore after IM founders Asif Raza Khan and Amir Raza Khan alias Muttaki kidnapped Partho Roy Burman, the owner of Khadim Shoes, states the ATS chargesheet.
Rakesh Maria, additional director general of Maharashtra ATS said: “Our preliminary information has shown that Kola channelled the money, and is involved in the kidnapping case of Partho Roy Burman. Investigations are still on.”
Kola, police sources said, is a partner in Dubai-based firm Muzaffar Kola Enterprises along with his 68-year-old brother-in-law Mohtesham Mohammed Ismail. He is also a partner in Kolaco Health Complex Pvt. Ltd at Bhatkal, along with his wife, Mohtesham Mohammed Ismail, Basha Abdul Khader Ali Murtaza, Ilyas Kola, and the wife of Ilyas.
Sources in the intelligence agencies said that Muzaffar Kola Enterprises LLC, which deals in readymade garments, perfumes, cosmetics and toys, is a front set up to run the money-laundering business.
Central agencies including Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Enforcement Directorate which have been probing terrorist funding through the hawala network, after the Maharashtra ATS wrote to them, state that Kola and his family members have a well-oiled money laundering network since the early 1990s, and have been closely associated with the Dossa gang, consisting of brothers Mustafa Dossa and Mohammed Dossa.
With landing points in the western coast under their control, the brothers at one point used to be the backbone of the dreaded underworld gangster and global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s smuggling activities. Mustafa Dossa, who figures in the list of accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case, is currently behind bars and faces trial in the case.
His elder brother Mohammed Dossa is one of the most wanted gangsters, and according to intelligence agencies ranks among the top five hawala operators in the world.
Investigations into the money laundering network took ATS and central agencies to nearly 25 cities in the country, and they have identified Kola and his family members as a key source of Indian Mujahideen’s finances.