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13/7 accused house raided,ATS claims hawala ‘proof’

‘Arrested Haroon Naik senior to Yasin Bhatkal,trained in Lashkar camps,fought against Northern Alliance in Kandahar’

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 4, 2012 12:20:19 am

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) raided the residence of suspected hawala operator Kanwar Nain Pathreja in Ghaziabad on Thursday and seized two mobile phones,a SIM card and two diaries which allegedly contain details of hawala transactions. Picked up from the capital on January 30,Pathreja is the fourth person arrested in the 13/7 Mumbai blasts case. He has been accused of aiding and abetting the terror attack.

“We recovered two mobile phones and a SIM card which he used for communication at the time of delivering money… It appears that someone tried to damage them after Pathreja was arrested,and we are interrogating him on who might have done so,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.

“We also recovered two diaries from Pathreja’s residence which have details of all the hawala transactions,with mobile phone numbers,done over the past year. Two diaries were also recovered from his person at the time he was arrested,” he added.

The ATS will be approaching the Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to prosecute Pathreja under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. “We have also written to the state home department to request the Home Ministry to grant powers to the ATS and the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to be able to prosecute accused under the PMLA in such cases,” said Maria.

According to the ATS chief,Haroon Hamid Naik,who was arrested in the 13/7 case on February 1,was one of the top three or four Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives,senior to wanted accused Yasin Bhatkal,and had fought with the al-Qaeda against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001. The ATS believes that Naik arranged for funds to finance the 13/7 blasts from Saudi Arabia and is probing whether he also financed other IM attacks across the country.

“Haroon is part of the core committee of the IM. He underwent two basic Lashkar-e-Toiba courses — Daura-e-Aam and Daura-e-Khas — in a training camp in Bahawalpur,Pakistan,in early 2001. He also wanted to take up jehad in Afghanistan and underwent an advanced training course — Bait-e-Rizwan — for 15 days in Bahawalpur. He then fought with the al-Qaeda against the Northern Alliance in Kandahar and its outskirts in 2001,” said Maria.

In 2005,the ATS believes,Naik crossed into Pakistan through the Wagah border on a Nepalese passport,which has now been seized. He allegedly also used passports under the names Salaudin,Maulana and Umar,and has been entering and leaving India at regular intervals since 2005.

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