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Monday, October 25, 2021

‘Terror plot’: Third arrest by ATS, tailor held in Mumbai

The ATS revealed that Irfan's role was identified during questioning of Zakir and Rizwan, following which he was brought to its office in Nagpada for inquiry on Wednesday and then arrested.

Written by Sagar Rajput , Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
October 1, 2021 12:52:40 am
Irfan was sent to ATS custody till October 4 by a special court later in the day. Zakir and Rizwan are also in ATS custody till Monday.

The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday made its third arrest in the alleged terror plot case. The ATS arrested 50-year-old tailor Mohammed Irfan Rehmat Ali Shaikh claiming that he had received Rs 49,000 to be used towards committing an offence. The agency had earlier arrested Zakir Hussain Shaikh and Rizwan Momin for their alleged links with members involved in the terror plot.

The ATS revealed that Irfan’s role was identified during questioning of Zakir and Rizwan, following which he was brought to its office in Nagpada for inquiry on Wednesday and then arrested.

“We have learnt that Zakir would seek money on Irfan’s name. His brother Shagir, who is based in another country, would send money to fund terror-related activities. The cash would come to Irfan through hawala channels, which was then handed over to Zakir. Similarly, Rs 50,000 was delivered to him (Zakir) recently through Western Union routed via the US, using the same channel,” said an investigator. “He also allowed Zakir to make a call to his associate based abroad (on a Malaysian phone number) from his phone.”

Irfan was sent to ATS custody till October 4 by a special court later in the day. Zakir and Rizwan are also in ATS custody till Monday.

Seeking Irfan’s custody, Chief Public Prosecutor Jaising Desai told court Thursday that Zakir was arrested from Irfan’s home, which showed that he was harbouring him. The ATS also told the court that Rs 49,000 in cash and a memory card belonging to Zakir was found to have been concealed by Irfan.

“When Zakir came to know that we were looking for him, he left his Jogeshwari house and hid at Rizwan Momin’s Mumbra residence from September 14 to 17, after which he went to Irfan’s house. He was arrested from there. However, before his arrest, he had handed over Rs 49,000 in cash and a memory card to Irfan,” said the officer.

Irfan aided and abetted the commission of Zakir’s act, the prosecutor told the court. Irfan, who was brought before the court with his head covered in a black shroud, was not represented by a lawyer.

Special Judge Prashant R Sitre asked the ATS if Irfan’s family had been informed. The judge also inquired with Irfan if his family has been informed and whether they were told to engage a lawyer for him. Irfan told the court that his family was not aware. He added that he was picked up on Wednesday.

Asked if he had anything to say about the allegations made against him in the remand plea, Irfan said that he had done no wrong. He added that while Zakir had come to his house, he was not aware of any offence committed by him.

The ATS further revealed that Irfan, who hails from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, is married with a daughter and three sons. He stays at Kherwadi in Mumbai’s Bandra and runs a tailoring unit, which stitches dresses for women.

The Indian Express visited the area but the employees working at his small tailoring unit refused to identify Irfan.

The ATS did not specify details of the alleged plot in its grounds for remand argued before the court. An officer said that the mode through which the money was received and the exact offence is being investigated.

On Thursday, the ATS also sought a non-bailable warrant against Anthony alias Anwar alias Anas — suspected to be Zakir’s brother Shagir, who is alleged to be in Pakistan. The court allowed the ATS plea and issued the warrant against the wanted accused.

The agency also took permission from court to translate documents belonging to Zakir that were seized from Rizwan’s Mumbra residence. The ATS investigator told the court that they will be engaging a person certified to translate Urdu. The court granted the ATS permission to open the sealed documents, directing it to do so in the presence of witnesses.

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