The role of home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen in 13/7 serial blasts emerged little over a month after the incident with the arrest of Haroon Rashid Naik, currently in jail in a fake currency case, the Maharashtra ATS said on Tuesday.
The ATS, which on Monday claimed a breakthrough in the probe with the arrest of two youths from Bihar 's Darbhanga district, also said it was with Naik's arrest that the agency stumbled upon the money trail in the blasts and zeroed in on IM as the perpetrators.
"The financial trail of the blast case began after the arrest of Haroon Rashid Naik in a fake currency case on August 22 last year. This is also the day when we realised it was IM which triggered the blasts," ATS chief Rakesh Maria told reporters.
Though no group had claimed responsibility for the blasts that ripped through three crowded business districts on July 13 last year claiming 27 lives, Mumbai police had made plain its suspicion about the involvement of IM.
Naik, according to Maria, gave financial help for the the blasts that revived the horrifying memories of 26/11 attacks.
It emerged during the probe that IM members in Pune, Mumbai, Bihar and Punjab were in touch with each other through SIM cards procured using bogus documents, an ATS source said.
ATS teams were dispatched to these places and that resulted in the arrest of eight persons including IM members Naqi Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Sheikh (22) and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh (23), the duo whose arrest was announced yesterday by Maria as a breakthrough in the blasts case.
A bunch of 400 applications filled in by original clients provided by a SIM card agent identified as Ganesh Tikole, who is behind the bars, were used to get the connections, according to police.
"One Imran, later identified as Yasin Bhatkal, had also used one of these SIM cards to remain in touch with other accused. Hence Bhatkal is shown as a wanted accused in the SIM cards case as well," Maria said.