13/7 bomb planter was a member of gangster’s gym: ATS

A wanted accused in the 13/7 Mumbai blasts, had enrolled himself at a gymnasium owned by the family of Arun Gawli, the Anti-terrorism Squad said.

Updated: Jan 28, 2012, 00:25 AM IST

Mumbai: A wanted accused in the 13/7
Mumbai blasts, who had planted one of the bombs that went off
that fateful evening, had enrolled himself at a gymnasium
owned by the family of underworld don-turned-politician Arun
Gawli, the Anti-terrorism Squad said on Friday.

While announcing a breakthrough in the blast probe on
Monday with the arrest of Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar from
Bihar, the ATS had withheld the names of the two planters of
the bombs whom its chief Rakesh Maria referred to only as
wanted accused `A` and `B`.

Maria told reporters that nearly a month after the
blasts, one of the bomb planters, who had enrolled himself at
a gym at Kumbharwada in south Mumbai, also became member of
another gym named after Gawli`s late father.

Gawli, facing several cases of extortion and a murder,
and a former rival of fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim, is
currently lodged in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.

"One of the planters in the 13/7 blasts case had
enrolled himself on August 10 last year for three months in
Gulabpuran Gawli Medical and Fitness Centre belonging to Gawli
family at Byculla. The bomb planter is the same person, who
had joined a gym at Kumbharwada of south Mumbai," Maria said.

The wanted bomb planter had paid Rs 3,500 as fee for
three months including Rs 200 entrance fee, at the gym located
at Dagadi Chawl, Gawli`s den, he said.

"The accused used to often visit the gym. The
statements of gym instructors, manager and others have been
recorded," Maria said.

The accused had submitted the required documents to
get admission in the gym, the ATS chief said but did not
elaborate the details of the documents.

"In Kumbharwada gym, arrested accused Naqi Ahmed had
helped him to get admission. We are checking as to who helped
him get admission to this Dagdi Chawl gym," he said, adding
the accused`s age mentioned in the gym register was little
over 24 years. "We have confiscated the gym register."

A top operative of home-grown terror outfit Indian
Mujahideen Yasin Bhatkal and two others planters, who are yet
to be identified, had rented a third floor flat in Byculla`s
Habib building where they assembled the explosives before
triggering the blasts at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House
on July 13 last year which claimed 27 lives.

The ATS had hinted at the underworld`s role in the
case but clarified that it did not suspect involvement of
Mumbai`s gangsters.

Asked if the bomb planter had come close to the
underworld by joining Gawli`s gym, Maria refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Naqi`s elder brother Taquee, who stays in
Delhi, has been summoned by the Maharashtra ATS to record his
statement.

The ATS expected Taquee`s presence at its headquarter
in Mumbai but he could not come citing health problems and
delay in getting train ticket, said an officer.

The ATS is likely to arrest Haroon Rashid Naik,
currently in jail in a fake currency case, in connection with
the triple blasts next week.

"The legal procedure is on. By early next week, we
should get his custody in the blasts case," Maria added.

PTI