In its attempt to link a hawala transaction with the October 27 Patna blasts, the Bihar police had carried out several arrests of both Hindu and Muslim operatives. But the case linking the hawala deal to the Patna blasts is on the verge of closure as the National Investigation Agency says there is no evidence.
A team of the Bihar police had carried out arrests claiming there was an Inter-Service Intelligence link to the Patna blasts. The arrests were carried out in Mangalore and Bihar. They had even arrested a lady by the name Ayesha Bano from Mangalore and claimed that she provided a liaison between the ISI and the operatives. The police also picked up four Hindu boys stating that they were part of this operation.
An NIA official told rediff.com that there was nothing to show that the Patna blasts were connected to the hawala racket run by Bano, which ran to around Rs 1.5 crore.
We have not questioned any of the accused in this case since we believe it is in no way connected to the Patna blasts. It is nothing but a case of illegal fund transfer, the official pointed out.
Officials also point out that there was a hurried response to the hawala link since a few youth from Bihar were involved. There is absolutely no link. The Patna blasts were the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen, which was funded locally.
The NIA says that the IM is capable of financing itself and the entire Patna operation was funded locally as opposed to the claim made by the BIhar police. The material and ammunition with which the bombs were prepared was already ready with them since the Bodh Gaya attack. We believe that some sympathisers in the local circles have funded them. We are now trying to find out who protected the Bodh Gaya bombers after the attack. They stayed in Bihar after the attack and struck again in Patna, the NIA officer pointed out.
The NIA has a cell of its own which looks into terror funding. The officers of this cell have not even questioned the hawala accused arrested by the Bihar police saying they would do so if a terror link emerges. “We are sure there is no such link and have even reported the same to the Home Ministry who in turn have told the Bihar police that the evidence they have provided is too flimsy,” the officer said.