13/7 blasts: Link between underworld, IM bared



13/7 blasts: Link between underworld, IM bared Mumbai: With the Maharashtra ATS naming Dubai-based Muzaffar Kola, an associate of jailed 1993 serial blasts accused Mustaffa Dossa, as a wanted accused in the 13/7 triple blasts case, the link between underworld and home grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen has surfaced.

Kola, who runs Muzaffar Kola Enterprises based in Dubai, was instrumental in facilitating availability of Rs 10 lakh to IM's elusive chief operative Yasin Bhatkal, ATS sources said, adding that the money was used to fund the blasts.

"Kola has been associated with Dossa and his absconding brother Mohammed Dossa. On Kola's instructions, hawala operator Kanwar Pathrija (arrested in the 13/7 blasts case) allegedly handed over Rs 10 lakh to one Shivanand, who later turned out to be Yasin Bhatkal," the source said.

"With this link, we now cannot rule out underworld help in this terror attack," the source added.

On July 13 last year, triple bomb blasts occurred at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House of the city killing 27 people and wounding 127 others.

Dossa was charged with conspiracy and making arrangements for landing of arms and ammunition at Raigad coast for the 1993 serial blasts. His brother Mohammed, also wanted in the same case, is absconding. The explosions had killed 257 people and injured 574. The main trial in the blasts case is already over and the court has convicted 100 accused.

However, Dossa and some other accused, including extradited gangster Abu Salem, who were taken into custody at the fag end of trial, are being tried separately.

Meanwhile, the ATS officials had identified the bomb planters in two months after the triple blasts following painstaking efforts of sifting through the 308 hours of CCTV footage.

Following the blasts, four special teams of the ATS, tasked to collect the data from 170 CCTV cameras, had visited the explosion sites and nearby areas for nearly a month.

"It took almost a month to gather all the CCTV footages. Then the most difficult task started. Each team comprising eight men sifted through this 308 hours footage round-the-clock for 29 days when we managed to get a fair idea as to who planted the bombs," an ATS official stated.

"There were about 60 to 70 people in each image as it was an evening rush hour. Then we identified each and every person in the frame following which we could manage to zero-in on the perpetrators," he added.

Within two months of the blasts, the ATS had an idea of the planters, though their names were not known, the officer added.

The ATS on Friday filed a charge sheet against 10 members of IM including its top operative Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be hiding in neighbouring Pakistan.

Among the 10 members of the home terror outfit, six are absconding while four have been arrested. Those facing the trial are Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija and Haroon Naik.

Among the wanted accused are Riyaz Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal -- top operatives of IM, and Waqas Ibrahim Sad, Danish alias Tarbez, Dubai-based Muzaffar Kola and Tehseen Akhtar Shaikh.

In a related development, ATS had claimed to have arrested one more accused in the 13/7 blast case, Mohammed Qafeel Ansari, 55, who was already in the custody of Delhi police in a terror-related case.

Ansari, hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, was arrested in Mumbai blasts case on May 19 and a supplementary charge sheet would be filed soon.

PTI