Mumbai: The name of a Pune hawala operator cropped up during the investigations into the 13/7 triple blasts that killed 27 people, sources in the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) said.
They told TOI that the suspect, identified as Ibrahim, had been sending money to Indian Mujahideen’s suspected co-founder and 13/7 bomb planter, Ahmed Zarar Siddibapa, alias Yasin Bhatkal.
“Bhatkal received Rs 10 lakh through a Delhi-based hawala operator, Kanwarnain Pathreja. This money had come to him from the UAE to execute the bombings. Later, whenever he required money, Ibrahim would send him the amount from Pune. The IM members would also send money to Ibrahim from abroad, who in turn would finance Bhaktal’s alleged activities,” said an ATS source. This revelation has come to light for the first time since Bhatkal’s arrest in August 2013 by Bihar police.
Bhaktal and his associate Asadullah Akhtar, alias Haddi, alias Tabrez—both of whom are in ATS custody—were produced in a court in Arthur Road jail on Tuesday and remanded in police custody till February 28. The duo are facing charges of murder and having links to IM, a banned organization. On July 13, 2011, three blasts —at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar—had killed 27 and injured 126 others. Till date, seven people have been arrested in this case.
During interrogation, the ATS has also found a place, which Bhatkal allegedly used as hideout. “There is a room in Pydhonie, known as as Siddibapa Kholi, which Bhatkal used as hideout. While he arranged accommodation for his accomplices and bombers—Tabrez and Pakistani national Waqqas—at Byculla’s Habib Manzil, he would not stay there. He would be shuttling between Mumbai and other cities,” said a source. Siddibapa Kholi is owned by a group of people from Karnataka, providing temporary shelter to those coming from that state to Mumbai seeking job or medical treatment.
The Times of India, February 19, 2014