Terror funds came from Gulf, routed through banks, hawala and money transfer channels

11 10 2008

Express News Service Posted: Oct 09, 2008 at 0220 hrs IST

Mumbai, October 8 Cops freeze bank accounts from which IM members withdrew money

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Wednesday revealed that it has frozen a certain number of bank accounts in the city from which money was withdrawn by some of the alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) members. According to the police, the IM operatives had been receiving money from Gulf countries through these accounts for the past two years. This is apart from what they had been receiving through the hawala network and the Western Union Money Transfer.

“During interrogations, some of the arrested accused told us that they used to withdraw money from some bank accounts in the city, following which we have frozen the accounts. They are savings accounts in nationalised banks and are in the names of some individuals. Since 2006, money was being deposited by people in Gulf countries and was being withdrawn in small amounts by the IM members. A total of Rs 26 lakh was sent from Gulf countries through proper banking channels to these accounts,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria, refusing to divulge further details or the number of accounts frozen.

The Crime Branch has already seized Rs 11.36 lakh in cash from the IM members arrested from Mangalore.

A dedicated team of Crime Branch officers is focussing on the funding received by the IM members, and are investigating the manner in which money was sent to them via hawala and money transfer channels. “If it is found that the people who are holding these accounts were actively helping the IM operatives in receiving funds from outside the country, they will also be booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for aiding and abbetting,” said Maria.

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Spotted in class, inducted into terror

11 10 2008

Mumbai, October 10 Software engineer Mohammed Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy (31) had been identified for indoctrination as far back as 2004.A group people scouting for young Muslim men spotted Peerbhoy in an Arabic class. The group then kept tabs on Peerbhoy, alleged Indian Mujahideen suspect Asif Bashir Shaikh told the Mumbai Police Crime Branch dring investigation.

Describing Asif as a “bad apple” in the class, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said: “The classes or the institutes that teach Arabic have nothing to do with such groups. People like Asif scout for such recruits at these places, without the knowledge of the institutes.”

The group kept a watch on Peerbhoy. In 2006 he was again trailed from the local mosque in Pune. “Once it had fully indoctrinated him, the group sent him for the ethical hacking course. He was later sent to Bhatkal for other training,” said Maria. Maria also said that “quite a few” men who had been indoctrinated went on to leave the group as they felt that it was the wrong thing to do. “There are many like them who have given us leads and were helpful in the investigation,” he said.

Peerbhoy has allegedly told the investigators that the Terror e-mails he sent were on Riyaz Bhatkal’s brief. Peerbhoy, Mubin alias Salman Kadar Sheikh (24) had conducted a recce for non-secure WiFi connections on five separate occasions. “On July 26, they left Pune at 10 am and reached Sanpada. They spent their time having lunch and strolling in the garden nearby,” adds Maria.

On the third occasion, they were supposed to send the mail at 6.20 pm but it got delayed till 6.26. “It was the day before the immersion and the crowd around Chembur was so large that they struggled to park their car,” adds Maria.

Interrogation has also established the manner in which the mails were sent. “Peerbhoy, Salman and Arif Badruddin Shaikh (38) would be driven down by Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chaudhary in a blue Esteem. Chaudhary and Arif would stand outside, masking the number plates from both sides, while Peerbhoy and Mubin would send the e-mail,” said Maria.Investigations have also shown that the Gujarat blasts had been initially planned for September 19. “The blasts were later shifted to September 26,” said Maria, adding that the cars placed in Ahmedabad had been fitted with four additional LPG cylinders for maximum impact.

The explosives, sourced from Karnataka, were taken via Pune and later to Surat through state transport, said Maria, adding that the group used state transport buses extensively. The group had called Mohd Arif Shaikh to Karnataka to assemble the circuits.