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Will hawala operators help cops crack 7/11?

Last updated on: August 03, 2006 13:11 IST

In an attempt to crack the source of foreign funding to the July 11 train bombings, the police will seek the help of hawala operators in the city.

Explaining the move, the police said since it seized a large amount of foreign money allegedly received by a key arrested Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative.

Investigators suspect that the LeT module that executed the blasts received large funding from their patrons abroad and the money was routed through hawala operators in Mumbai and around.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad will try and trace the source of the illegitimate foreign money that has come into India in the past six months to one year, and check if it had landed in the hands of subversive elements, they said.

The police, thus, intends to trace more subversive elements.

"We are taking hawala operators into confidence. We are telling them that we need your help in this case, and we have no intention to prosecute you in this case. We want to trace foreign money received in the past six-seven months," a top Mumbai police official said.

Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy also confirmed to PTI that the ATS was taking the help of hawala operators.

Faizal Sheikh, a senior LeT operator in the region, arrested in late July, received 37,000 Saudi riyals (approx Rs 4.5 lakh) from his brother who stays in Riyadh.

This sparked the suspicion of police since 25,000 riyals were received four days before the blasts and another 12,000 riyals were received a day after the blasts.

Investigations have revealed that Faizal had personal expenses of nearly Rs 50,000 every month. Faizal is also suspected to have received more than Rs 30 lakh in the past five years.

With Faizal suspected to be instrumental in furthering LeT activities in the region, the quantum of money he received from foreign countries – running into several lakhs of rupees – may be vital, sources said.

Meanwhile, the ATS is also questioning Faizal's cousin Khaleda Khan (53). Khaleda received 12,000 riyals from Saudi Arabia that were meant for Faizal, the sources said, adding that she was being questioned in connection with the money, and there was no way to link her with the blasts case.


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