Tuesday, March 11, 2014

‘IM got hawala money for 13/7 blasts’



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) suspects that the money required to orchestrate the 13/7 Mumbai blasts was sent to Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives through the hawala route and it came through Pune. A tobacco firm’s owner, whose dispute with a rival was settled in Karachi a few years ago, is also under the scanner, said sources in the security establishment.
    The ATS, which is probing the 2011 triple bomb blasts case, is desperately looking for a suspect, identified as Ibrahim. He worked at a real estate firm’s office in Pune. The investigators are now zeroing in on this construction firm suspecting its close association with a tobacco manufacturing firm, whose top official was in the news a few years ago due to his Karachi visit and his alleged meeting with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
    Agencies like NIA, Delhi Police’s special cell and state ATS tried to approach the proprietor of the firm. However, “because of his clout” the man is still out of the radar, sources claimed.
    Ibrahim is suspected to have channeled hawala money to IM operatives on three occasions—during the planning and execution of the 2008 Gujarat bomb blasts, during the Pune German Bakery bomb blast and the 13/7 Mumbai bomb blasts. These explosions collectively killed 104 people.
    “One of the accused, Muzaffar Kola (68), who is suffering from cancer, is from Karnataka. Kola has links with this tobacco manufacturer. The money used in 13/7 was channeled to Delhi and then to Mumbai through Kola’s UAE-based firm, Kola Enterprises. Ibrahim who was then working in the construction firm also received some money. The relation between Kola and the construction firm owner prompted us to probe the matter further,” said an officer.
    “Kola’s old association with the tobacco manufacturer cannot be ignored. We are still working on it.” While the police claimed to have found evidence of Ibrahim’s involvement in the hawala transactions, they also suspect that he might have transported explosives in the past for the IM. “Several things about Ibrahim has emerged during the interrogation of IM top functionary, Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal,” the officer added. 

    IM’s suspected co-founder, Yasin Bhatkal, who was in ATS custody, also admitted that he knew Ibrahim.
    “After recording statements of several accused and witnesses in this case, we realized that Ibrahim is the main link and if he had been working for several years, there might have been some support pillars. We are trying to collect evidence against the culprits,” the source added. Bhatkal, along with his associate Asadullah Akhtar is in Thane jail.

The Times of India, March 11, 2014

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