A local court on Friday extended the police custody of alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Haroon Rashid Naik and Delhi-based hawala operator Kanwar Nain Pathrija in the July 13, 2011 triple bomb blasts case in the city. Haroon pleaded innocent before the court after he asked the court the reason for his arrest.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has so far made four arrests in the case. They have all been charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act, Indian Penal Code, etc.
The court also granted police custody to the other two accused in another bomb blast case pertaining to the same day. Thus, all the four accused are to stay in police custody — Haroon and Pathrija till February 18 and the other two till February 17.
Three bombs went of at the Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar Kabutarkhana on July 13 last year. The ATS had earlier arrested Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Sheikh and Nadeem Ahmed Ashfaq Sheikh in the Opera House blast case. Their police custody ended on Friday, after which they were granted judicial custody till February 24.
But the ATS on Friday showed them as arrested in the Zaveri Bazaar blast case and sought their custody. “They have booked them for the Zaveri Bazaar blast now,” the lawyer for both the accused said.
Naquee and Nadeem, both hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, were arrested in the city by the ATS on the charge of involvement in the blasts. They were previously arrested for procuring SIM cards with fake documents.
Haroon was in prison since last year after the ATS arrested him in a fake Indian currency case in August 2011. Last month, the ATS filed a transfer request for Haroon's custody in the case, which was granted on February 1. The ATS has accused him of sending Rs.10 lakh used for the blast, from Saudi Arabia to Hawala operator Pathrija in New Delhi.
The ATS on Friday accused Haroon of trying to destroy the evidence against him. “We have to investigate the Hawala angle in depth. We have to further find out if any fake currency was used in the attack, who all helped him. The investigation may go beyond Maharashtra,” the public prosecutor told the court.
Pathrija, a resident of Ghaziabad who owns a jewellery shop in New Delhi, was arrested on January 30. He is accused of arranging to hand over the money to wanted IM operative Yasin Bhatkal, who is alleged to have later distributed the money to other accused. “We have seized mobile phone, diaries, SIM cards from him. He is also involved in the conspiracy and we require his custody to investigate the Hawala angle in depth,” the prosecutor said.