Following the recent arrest of Mangalore couple Ayesha Bano and Zubair Hussain for allegedly operating a Pakistan-linked hawala racket,the NIA and other agencies are investigating the receipt of Rs 1 lakh by Waqas alias Ahmed,an Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative,through the hawala route during his nearly year-long stay in a flat in the city with two other IM members.
There is no evidence linking the couple to Waqas,but a probe in Bihar showed a link between some IM operatives and hawala racket.
Ayesha (37) and husband Zubair (40) were arrested by the Bihar police in Mangalore on November 12 after investigations revealed she created multiple bank accounts and ordered money transfers via the hawala route. Some IM operatives allegedly accessed funds through the bank accounts created by Ayesha.
Investigations have revealed that Ayesha received nearly Rs 2 crore through the hawala route from June 2012 to November 2013. Some of the money transfers may have been to people linked to terrorism but the couple seem unaware of the people they transferred money to, said sources.
Mangalore was reportedly used as a hideout by Waqas,Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu,an accused in the Patna blasts,and Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi,who was arrested with Yasin Bhatkal,between late 2012 and August 2013.
Haddi has told investigators they received money through Western Union while they lived in a rented apartment in Mangalore.
Rs 1 lakh was received by Waqas while he was staying in Mangalore. We have found that the transfer was done through a hawala operator who has been in the business for 20 years, sources said.
The couple seem to have been involved only in a hawala racket, said a senior police official.