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Delhi police close to cracking IM's financial code

February 04, 2012 12:51 IST

Though investigators knew the manner in which money was raised by the Indian Mujahideen, they have been unable to find out how it was circulated, and eventually used for carrying out blasts. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

The Delhi police is close to cracking how the Indian Mujahideen manages its finances. The arrest of Mohammad Tariq Anwar is likely to give the police more leads into the case.

Anwar, who hails from Bihar, is said to be a key financial planner for the IM and is reportedly close to Yasin Bhatkal, who has been accused of being the mastermind of various terror attacks in India.

An engineer by profession, Anwar was earlier involved in a fake currency case dating back to 2003. He is said to have come in touch with the Bhatkal brothers way back in the year 2003 when he had gone to the coastal town of Bhatkal in Karnataka. It was then that the Indian Mujahideen was being formed following a ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India. The IM was looking for men who could carry out their financial activities and Anwar was one of the men selected.

At first he helped with the recruitment process and later moved on to take charge of finances, which were used for subversive activities. He actively coordinated with several youngsters to circulate fake currency. Eventually, he oversaw the finances that came through donations and the circulation of fake currency.

The police believe that the arrest of Anwar has brought them a step closer towards cracking the financial code. This is something that has always foxed investigators. They knew the manner in which the money was being raised, but were unable to find out how these persons moved the money around, which were eventually used for blasts. However, police officials say that the money that is raised is used more for recruitments and training. The actual expenditure to carry out blasts is much cheaper and would cost roughly between Rs, 20,000 and Rs 50,000.

However, over the years the IM has been falling short of youngsters, as it is said that the ideology trick has not been working. They have been using a lot of persons who are in no way connected to the ideology the IM has been propagating. This meant the outfit needed to pay a lot of money to carry out an operation.

This is probably one of the reasons why the IM managed to carry out a series of blasts and even got away with it. They had at their disposal migrant labours, who went about the job without being detected.

Today the police have in their custody, Mohammad Shameer, in Bangalore, Anwar and Vazirchand Pathreja, who are in the custody of the Delhi police. Sources say that all the three men had a fair idea of the financial module of the IM. They have relied more on generating funds through marketing fake currency and also raising funds through donations.

Preliminary investigations have shown that a big chunk of the money has come in through donations from the Gulf. Most of the youth have links with modules in the Gulf and they have managed to easily raise money for their operations. All the money for the IM first lands in Kerala and then is wired through a hawala transaction.

In this regarding they have found the interrogation of Shameer very useful, as he runs an organisation called the Jam-i-yyathul Ansarul Muslimeen (JIAM), which has been at the forefront to collect money at the first source.

The money was then transferred to places such as Delhi and then to Bihar and Azamgarh where the likes of Anwar managed to collect it and distribute it accordingly.

In the year 2008, when the police made its first spate of arrests, the focus was more on the technological wing of the Indian Mujahideen. However, today it can be said that the group does not have that kind of technological expertise which it used to possess four years ago.

However, today the focus is more on the financial wing, and the Delhi police in particular has been chasing that wing of the IM. Sources say that there will be another round of arrests soon.

"We are keen on ensuring that their financial module is busted as this would act as a great deterrent towards committing further crimes," say sources in the Delhi police.

The Delhi police, however, also add that they would not jump to any conclusions and also not get bogged down by pressures. We are trying to elicit more information about other operatives so that the arrests in the days to come would be systematic.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore