Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Abdul Mateen Damada, the alleged financier of July 2011 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, from Goa airport on Tuesday. A special MCOCA court on Wednesday remanded the 50-year-old in police custody for 14 days.
A native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, Mateen is believed to have supplied Rs 10 lakh to alleged IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal through hawala channels that was used for carrying out the attacks, ATS said. According to the ATS, Mateen sent Rs 10 lakh to one Kanwar Pathrija through hawala. On March 31, 2011, Yasin met Pathrija in New Delhi and pic-ked up the cash from him, said ATS Chief Himanshu Roy.
“For the last 15 years, Mateen had been living in Dubai. After the blasts, we had issued a look-out notice for him at all the airports. On Tuesday, he was detained at the immigration of the Goa airport. We believe that he was headed for Bhatkal,” Roy added.
Mateen’s brother-in-law Muzaffar Kola and nephew Ubair too have been named as accused. While Ubair is believed to be living in Dubai, Roy said Muzaffar was in Bhatkal, but is very sick. In the chargesheet, Mateen is referred to as Farooq alias Mateen, the name by which Yasin knew him, said Roy.
“We are probing from where Mateen and Muzaffar acquired the money, and if they are the channels for sending the cash or are financiers themselves,” Roy said. Seeking his custody for the ATS, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that Yasin’s brother Riyaz Bhatkal had asked Mateen’s firm in Dubai, Kola Enterprises, to deliver the amount to Shivanand, the alias used by Yasin then. Mateen’s defence lawyer Sharif Shaikh argued that his client was not aware that the money was being used for carrying out the blasts.
This is the sixth arrest ma-de by the ATS in the case. Earlier, it had arrested Naqi Ahm-ed, Nadeem Sheikh, Kanwar Pathrija and Haroon Naik, while Yasin Bhatkal was picked up by the NIA in August last year. Another wanted accused, Tehseen Akhtar and Pakistani national Waqas Ibr-ahim Saad, were held by Delhi Police in March this year. “Only Riyaz Bhatkal and Wasim alias Ibrahim, who supplied explosives for the blasts, have not been arrested till now,” said Roy. Roy added that Mateen’s involvement first came up during the interrogation of Naqi Ahmed and later Yasin Bhatkal.