Investigators from the National Investigating Agency have found that the bombs used in the August 25, 2007 Hyderabad blasts that killed 42 people, were prepared in the heart of Mangalore city, and the finances came from a dedicated network in Saudi Arabia. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
A NIA team, which was in Mangalore with Indian Mujahideen terrorists Asadullah Akthar and Yasin Bhatkal, claims to have returned with a lot of information. Apart from confirming that the bombs for the Hyderabad blasts were prepared in the heart of Mangalore city, the NIA has also found that the financing for the IM landed in Mangalore, from where it was distributed to different parts of the country.
Sources in the NIA tell rediff.com that they found that the bombs were assembled in an apartment at the Attavar area in Mangalore, and from there, they were transported to Hyderabad. These bombs were used in the Lumbini Park and Dilsukhnagar blasts.
The NIA also got confirmation that the ammonium nitrate, that was sourced from Chickmagalur in Karnataka was sent to various parts of the country in one single shipment. Some of this cargo was dropped off at an area between Mangalore and Udupi town (which is 60 kilometres away).
Investigators have found that the job of making the bomb for the Lumbini Park area was assigned to Yasin, who assembled it in Mangalore, and then later transported it to Hyderabad.
The bomb for the Gokul Chaat blast was assembled under the guidance of late Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami operative Shahid Bilal in Hyderabad. While both operatives worked separately, the only time they coordinated was regarding the timing -- both blasts had a short timer.
The confusion regarding funding for the IM is slowly becoming clear now. The NIA has found that the IM resorted to extortions and even donations to raise money during its rebuilding year.
But the flow of funds became smoother once they were able to properly coordinate with their modules in Saudi Arabia and Kerala. Although all their operations were overseen by their handlers in Pakistan, no money came to India directly from there.
There was a dedicated team in Saudi Arabia to handle the finances. Some of the remittances were done through the Kerala module via a hawala network. However, with investigators keeping a close watch on that front, the IM resorted to a more open manner to transfer the money.
Investigators have found that the money for the blasts at Hyderabad and Pune was sent directly from Saudi Arabia -- through a Western Union Money transfer. The same was collected by Akthar and Bhatkal in Mangalore and then passed on to other operatives who were part of the attacks.
NIA officials have stumbled upon more clues regarding the operations of the IM. When they searched the apartment in Mangalore used by these operatives, they found improvised explosive devices and other material used to make the bombs.
Another team in Hyderabad found more material, which was seized. The material from Hyderabad formed part of a back up, in case the bomb prepared in Mangalore failed to go off. The NIA also recovered pressure cookers and clothes of the operatives who stayed there.
“This will form very crucial circumstantial evidence,” an NIA official points out.
“This material would be used in the forensic test which would help us piece the evidence better, while we take the matter to the court and seek maximum punishment for these operatives,” he adds.