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Patna blasts probe leads to hawala links with ISI

November 12, 2013 15:36 IST

A female agent of the Pakistani intelligence from Mangalore oversees hawala transactions that help pump money to terror outfits, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

The Bihar police have arrested five youths for their involvement in hawala transactions. The last arrest was made on Monday from Dhanbhad, Jharkhand.

Investigations into the Patna blasts suggest that six persons involved in a major hawala racket received money from across the border. While the police has been unable to establish if this illegal money fund the October 27 attack carried out by the Indian Mujahideen, sources told that a part of the funds were being used by the IM for its terror-related activities.

Heading the hawala racket is Pakistani handler Ibrahim Khan and one Ayesha Bano from Mangalore. According to the police, Ayesha handled 35 bank accounts in India and transactions of around Rs 1 crore were made through her. An agent of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence, she was detained from Mangalore on Tuesday.

The Lakhisarai police had earlier arrested four youths -- Gopal Prasad Goyal, Ganesh Prasad, Vikas Kumar and Pawan Kumar Gupta -- for their alleged links with the Pakistani intelligence and for their involvement in hawala transactions. They reportedly worked as ISI conduits and pumped money into terror outfits operating in the country.

Once the money would reach bank accounts they would inform Ayesha about it, the investigators say.

There were several transactions being carried out and each time Rs 49,000 was withdrawn or deposited; the sum was constant, according to a first information report filed in the case. All the withdrawals were made through ATMs and later deposited into other banks. Once this was done Ayesha informed the Pakistani handlers, the police claim. 

The police tapped phone calls of some of the suspects involved in the racket, which led them to Ayesha and some handlers operating from Pakistan. They have 39 phone numbers and over 50 calls that will be scrutinised.   

Though there is no evidence about the involvement of the IM, insiders say that a small portion of the money could have reached operatives in Bihar.

Image: A currency exchange trader counts money in his office in Islamabad

Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

Vicky Nanjappa