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Delhi hawala operator arrested for 13/7 blasts

City cops with help of Delhi special squad picked up a jeweller from Chandni Chowk, claim for the first time, foreign money has been used to fund blasts since 1993

An alleged hawala operator was arrested in Delhi in connection with the July 13 triple blasts that rocked Mumbai last year. With the latest arrest, the total number of arrested accused in the case has gone up to three.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Kanwar Nain Wazirchand Pathrija (42), a jeweller and resident of Ghaziabad, from his jewellery shop -- Jyoti jewellers -- in Chandni Chowk yesterday, and brought him to Mumbai.

He has been booked for aiding and abetting the blasts. The police have been granted custody of the accused till February 10.

"Pathrija is a well-known hawala operator and we had been tracking him for a long time. Once we established his link with the perpetrators, we decided to pick him," said Rakesh Maria, additional director general of police and Maharashtra ATS Chief.

"Pathrija had got instructions from an unknown person to hand over money to Yasin Bhatkal, which he did," said Maria. Pathrija is suspected to have handed over Rs 10 lakh to the main accused, the absconding mastermind of the blasts Yasin Bhatkal, in early 2011.

Cops further added that the money was routed from a foreign country and that this is the first time after
the 1993 blasts that the money for the bombings came from the hawala racket.

Hawala link
In the 1993 blasts, Mulchand Shah alias Chowksi had given money to the main accused Tiger Memon. Shah had provided funds to the tune of Rs 1.89 crore to Tiger, which was used by him to send some of the perpetrators to Dubai.

"Shah was later convicted for his involvement in the crime. Usually hawala is an intricate system of transferring money and relies on trust for transactions, hence it is difficult to prove its origin as it changes a lot of hands, which is done to confuse the investigating agencies," said an ATS officer. "The money has come from a foreign country for the 13/7 blasts," said the officer.

Triple strike
On July 13, 2011, three bombs killed 27 people and injured around 147 at Opera House, Dadar and Zaveri Bazaar. The ATS arrested Naqi Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Sheikh (22) and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh (23), on January 12. One more suspect, Haroon Rashid Naik, had been arrested in August 2011 in a fake currency racket.

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