Haroon Rashid Naik, 33, a Mumbra resident, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the 13/7 triple blasts case on Wednesday. He is the fourth man to be arrested in the case. Haroon was produced before a local court and was remanded in police custody till February 10.
The ATS prosecutor, seeking his custody, told the court that Haroon’s role in the 13/7 case was to facilitate the hawala racket and his name came up during the interrogations of an accused already arrested in the case.
“He was earlier arrested in the fake currency case in August 22, 2011, by the ATS and was in jail from where the ATS got his transfer custody. We need to investigate if fake currency was used in this case as well,” the prosecutor said. The ATS also wants to investigate his role in the hawala and conspiracy in the blasts and hence they needed custody of him.
ATS officials said they had stumbled upon some fresh evidence and this needed to be verified by the agency. The ATS on Tuesday had arrested Kanwar Pathrija, a jeweller from Delhi who the ATS claims paid Yasin Bhatkal Rs 10 lakh in a single instalment in the early part of 2011. This money was used by the Indian Mujahideen in the blasts.
“The ATS wants to find out how many more people are linked to this hawala racket with Haroon, which is the key to how the blasts conspiracy was funded,” ATS officials said.
Haroon, according to ATS officials, was trained in Pakistan and has been on the radar of Indian security agencies for a long time.
Defence lawyers argued that Haroon was in ATS custody for 25 days in the fake currency case since his arrest on August 22, 2011 but the ATS did not say anything about his role in the 13/7 case at the time.
“He has been in jail since August, and now they are charging him with being involved in terrorist funding and going to Pakistan but the ATS said nothing about this then,” the lawyer argued.