New Delhi: A 39-year-old man has been arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly acting as a financier to al-Qaeda's Indian sub-continent (AQIS) module busted here, the third arrest in the case, police said today.
Zafar Masood was arrested from mohalla Deepa Sarai in UP's Sambhal district last night after being booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, said Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Arvind Deep.
Masood had allegedly financed Mohammed Asif (41), who was arrested by Special Cell from northeast Delhi's Seelampur on Monday, and his own nephew, Serjil (22), who is reported to be in al-Qaeda's training camp in Af-Pak region, an official privy to the investigation said.
Masood was alleged to have paid the duo around USD 500 in two instalments for a trip to Pakistan. The two, besides another youth, identified as Rehan (26), had gone to Pakistan via Tehran and Afghanistan in June 2013 for training, the official said.
Masood's arrest follows that of Mohammed Asif, also a native of Sambhal, and Abdul Rahman, a madrasa teacher in Jagatpur in Odisha's Cuttack district.
Both Rahman and Masood were brought here on transit remand and produced before a court, which sent them to 12-days' police custody starting today, police said.
During interrogation, it emerged that Rahman has "connections" from Jharkhand to Saudi Arabia and Glasgow in Britain. He frequently visited Bangalore and met people, whose names police did not disclose, for which a team of Special Cell is likely to be rushed to Karnataka, said a police source.
It has also emerged that his brother Tahir Ali, who was arrested in 2002 in connection with the terrorist attack on American Cultural Center in Kolkata, had taken shelter at his residence before his arrest. However, such details are to be cross-checked with old records of the police department in Kolkata, the source added.
On the other hand, Masood, alleged to be a former operative of Harkat-ul-Mujahidin (HuM) trained in explosives and handling Kalashnikovs, is a neighbour of Asif, and a former student of a prominent university in the national capital, said an official.
After finishing a diploma course in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning certification from the university here in 1994, Masood went to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where he worked in an AC company for 950 Riyal a month, the official said.
He returned to India around three years later and rented a room at Batla House in Delhi with his friend, Usman, also a native of Sambhal. During his stay there, they met Saeed Akhtar alias Qasim, who is believed to be the deputy to AQIS chief (Amir) Maulana Asim Umar, said the official. Umar and Qasim are also natives of Sambhal.
It was Qasim who allegedly radicalised the two and convinced them to leave for Pakistan in 1999, while he himself left for Mumbai, he said.