The ongoing investigation into the seizure of weapons from an arms training centre at Narath in Kannur district gathers that a Dubai-based funding agency could have transferred funds to the State for subversive activities.
Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the probe was centred around a relative of fugitive terror mastermind Riyaz Bhatkal, alias Shahbandari, alias Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri.
The person’s name has been withheld and investigators think he could have transferred funds from the Emirates National Bank of Dubai. Documents including bank account numbers of this person were seized during raids on the house of absconding accused Kamaruddin, on Kummaayakkadavu Road at Narath.
Bhatkal, a former member of the Students Islamic Movement of India and who later founded the Indian Mujahideen is at present based in Karachi. He was involved in the Mumbai blast of July 2011 as well as the serial blasts at various places including Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Delhi. His relative, also close to the Interpol’s most-wanted Dawood Ibrahim, is involved in many hawala cases.
Till now, 21 activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) have been arrested in connection with the Narath arms seizure case. Kamaruddin is also a PFI activist. All of them have been charged with sections of the Unlawful Activities Preventions Act.
The case is being investigated by the Kannur police but will soon be transferred to the National Investigation Agency considering its gravity. A. Ravi Shankar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, from Hyderabad, will shortly visit the State. Investigators are yet to unravel the motive behind organising the arms training camp. They suspect that it could be to execute some operation elsewhere in the State or country. Literature seized from the house of an accused show that the intention was to create Hindu – Muslim disharmony.
The links of Sarfraz Nawaz, accused of financing several blasts in the country, including those in Bangalore, with the accused in Narath is being examined, sources say.
The probe has already substantiated that another accused had operated at least nine bank accounts in his name and other family members for receiving more than Rs.80 lakh from a non-resident India in Dubai. The funds had been transferred through Western Union as deposits of Rs.one lakh to multiple accounts to deftly escape the surveillance of the Financial Intelligence Unit functioning under the Union Ministry of Finance.
The pattern of funds transfer shows that repeated transfers were done to a few persons from banks in West Asia. Verification of these overseas accounts is being carried out, sources say.
A preliminary investigation indicates that these funds have been used to purchase large tracts of land in the State. Subsequently, the money channelised into real estate could be reused for funding other activities. Further investigation on this aspect will be carried out at the State and national levels, sources say.