THE MAHARASHTRA Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has claimed that Zainul Shaikh, the 26-year old arrested in April, received money from alleged Indian Mujahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal through the hawala network to procure explosives for the July 13, 2011 blasts in Mumbai. In its chargesheet filed before the special MCOCA court last week, the ATS claimed to have recorded a confessional statement of Shaikh. The ATS claims that Shaikh led the police to Bhatkal in Karnataka and Goa.
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“He pointed out a shop from where he procured the explosives, the place where he delivered the explosives to chargesheeted accused Sayed Ismail Afaq and the place where he delivered hawala money to chargesheeted accused Asadullah Akhtar,” the chargesheet states.
On July 13, 2011, blasts at Dadar, Zaveri Bazar and Opera House had killed 27 and injured over 100 persons. The Maharashtra ATS had claimed that a module of the Indian Mujahideen led by Yasin Bhatkal was behind the blasts. Shaikh was allegedly intercepted on April 24 from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport after being declared a wanted accused in 2011.
The ATS claims to have taken his confessional statement on May 10, where he made the revelations. A resident of Bhatkal, Shaikh had allegedly escaped to Saudi Arabia in 2011. The chargesheet includes the statement of a shopkeeper near Mangalore. The witness claims that a man had approached him to buy ammonium nitrate.
He further states that since the man did not look like a farmer (since the substance is used as a fertiliser), he asked him where he was from. The witness has said that the buyer said he was from Bhatkal, and bought 10 kg of the substance. The trial in the 13/7 case is yet to begin, with some of the accused seeking separation of trial citing delay since some of the accused are lodged in a prison outside the state.