Today it is clear that IM has the backing of the underworld as well, says Vicky Nanjappa
A few days after serial blasts rocked Mumbai on July 13 last year, Intelligence Bureau officials had suggested that the blasts could have been the result of a turf war between the Indian Mujahideen and the underworld.
But going by the mammoth chargesheet in the case, filed on Friday, it appears as though some members of the underworld had helped the Indian Mujahideen execute this attack.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad is currently probing the involvement of Muzaffar Kola, a member of the underworld, in the blasts.
Kola is a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka and was part of the Dossa gang which reported to Dawood Ibrahim. His proximity to the Indian Mujahideen grew when he got in touch with both Riyaz and Yasin Bhatkal, who hail from the same coastal town in Karnataka. Kola left Bhatkal almost 15 years ago and has been involved with the underworld ever since.
He started off as a small time operative in Bhatkal but gradually grew closer to the Dawood gang and finally became a major player in the underworld. His high-profile activities included the abduction of Khadim boss Partha Pratim Roy Burman. He reportedly helped transfer funds for the 9/11 attacks.
Kola operated out of Dubai and transferred money for terror operations through hawala channels. Kola always used the Dubai-Delhi-Pakistan channels to transfer hawala money and according to IB reports, he has moved over Rs 5 crore so far for terror activities.
He had remained in touch with both Yasin and Riyaz and operated the hawala money for them. He also grew close to Amir Reza Khan, the supreme commander of the Indian Mujahideen.
For the 13/7 blasts, at the insistence of Yasin Bhatkal, he allegedly routed Rs 10 lakh through Dubai and Delhi. The money was channelled through an operator known as Kanwar Pathrija.
The police now have some clarity how the Indian Mujahideen is funded, as there was a great deal of confusion over it.
While there have been donations from sympathisers, today it is clear that the IM has the backing of the underworld as well.
Looking at the reports and dossiers on Riyaz Bhatkal, IB sleuths have realised that he introduced the concept of channelling underworld money to fund the activities of IM. Riyaz was an underworld operative before he joined the terror outfit.
Many Indian Mujahideen members were initially involved with the underworld.
According to sources in the Intelligence Bureau, the funds are being channelled through the underworld via the hawala route.
The police of many states are currently questioning IM cadres and they are expected to probe the underworld nexus angle.
Sources in the Bangalore police, which is probing the stadium blasts case, are looking at the links between the IM, the betting lobby and the underworld.