Nearly 50 days after the July 13 serial blasts in Mumbai, the state anti-terrorist squad believes that the strike was funded by the Pakistani ISI through the Saudi Arabian route and executed with the help of local city youth. This input has been conveyed to the home ministry at the highest levels, which is at present trying to help the ATS substantiate its investigation.
Seven blasts had rocked Mumbai within a span of 30 minutes on July 13. Zaveri Bazaar was rocked first with three explosions at around 6.45pm. Five minutes later, two bombs went off at Opera House. At around 7.15pm, two explosions occurred at Dadar. Twenty-six people were killed and 131 injured in the blasts.
According to government sources, the Maharashtra ATS got information that the blasts were planned, coordinated and executed with the help of one Gen Murad of the ISI with the help of Lashkar-e-Taiba-Indian Mujahideen modules in the state.
The information was that the ISI funded Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia, who in turn approached sleeper modules in Mumbai city to carry out the strike. The ATS has conveyed that the explosives were secured by the ISI and were given to the local Indian planters in Mumbai just before the three blasts.
While the home ministry is waiting for the state ATS to connect the dots and plug gaps in the information, Maharashtra police for the moment believe that the information is credible and may help in cracking the case.
However, the information has gaps as there is no information about the Saudi Arabian end or the Mumbai end including who were the planters and the sources of funding in Saudi Arabia. The Arab kingdom is at present cracking down hard on terrorism funded by Pakistan and targeted against India.
The identity of Gen Murad too is hazy. Sources said one Col Murad used to train Lashkar terrorists a decade ago and they do not know of any Gen Murad handling the anti-India operations. However, they also point out that this could also be the combat name of some ISI operative in charge of the India operations.
With leads running dry and trails turning cold in the 13/7 case, the state ATS is banking on this lead to solve the case with the security agencies pitching in to unearth the Indian end of the terror strike in an otherwise a blind case.
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