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13/7: Prime suspects still absconding

July 13, 2012 15:21 IST
A year on, how successful have investigators been in bringing to task perpetrators of the triple blasts that wreaked havoc in Mumbai on July 13, 2011? Vicky Nanjappa finds out.

The 4,700-page chargesheet filed by the Maharasthra Anti-Terrorism Squad has named 10 accused in the 13/7 case, of which six are absconding. The six alleged terrorists are the ones who played a bigger role in the attack. The most vital members of the Indian Mujahideen, they continue to pose a threat as long as they are free.    

Muzzafar Kola:

Among the absconders is Muzzafar Kola, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka. Wanted in the 13/7 case, sources say he is still living in Bhatkal and is accessible to the media. He was the alleged Indian Mujahideen's link to the underworld and arranged for the terror funds and the transfer of money through hawala transactions.   

Kola was based in Dubai, but sold his business and returned to Bhatkal. In Bhatkal, he is considered to be a charitable person.

Kola claimed that he is suffering from cancer and cannot speak because his vocal chords have been operated upon. "The ATS claimed that I was in Dubai, but I was very much in Bhatkal. The case made out against me is incorrect," he told the media. He writes the information, as he cannot speak.

The ATS too is aware of his whereabouts and have had several interactions with him in Bhatkal. However, they have not picked him up, as they need an order from court. The investigators are finding it difficult to join the dots and want to be 100 per cent sure before they can carry out his arrest.

"He is undergoing treatment and will not give us the slip. It will be only through a court order that he will be arrested," said an ATS official.

Riyaz Bhatkal:

Riyaz Bhatkal is the most important on the wanted listed in the 13/7 case. Not only is he an accused in last year's triple blasts, but is also alleged to have played a role in other terror attacks involving the Indian Mujahideen.     

There is absolutely no clarity on Riyaz's whereabouts.

It was suspected that he was dead, but his parents and investigation agencies confirmed it to be a rumour. 

Riyaz, according to his dossier and the latest Interpol alert, is based in Pakistan. Closely associated with the head of the IM, Amir Reza Khan, he is said to have visited Delhi recently and met with the cadres who carried out a spate of blasts including the 13/7 attack. He is a crucial link to every case that involves the IM.

Yasin Bhatkal:

Yasin Bhatkal's role in the IM is India specific and he is believed to have synchronised the attacks from Bihar. He gave the ATS the slip while they were in the midst of what is now being crticised as a hurried operation. 

All the operatives being questioned in connection with 13/7 have confessed that Yasin organised the attacks. 

Yasin came to prominence in the radical outfit only after Riyaz moved to Pakistan. The two are believed to be cousins and hail from Bhatkal.

According to the intelligence bureau, Yasin started a base in Bihar and oversaw the resurrection of the Indian Mujahideen. He got together the forces, who carried out the triple blasts.

The other absconders -- Waqas Ibrahim Sad, Danish alias Tarbez, Tehseen and Akhtar Shaikh -- worked closely on the 13/7 terror operation along with Yasin Bhatkal. They were the part of the final assault team that assembled the bombs that went off at Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar.  

The trio along with Yasin stayed in Byculla where the bombs were made. It was Waqas and Tabrez who planted the bombs.

The police believe they may still be holed up in India.

Light a candle for 13/7: Show you remember 

 

Vicky Nanjappa