Monday, October 28, 2013

IM operative Afzal Usmani, who escaped from court, nabbed

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Sunday nabbed key Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Mutalib Usmani who had escaped from a Mumbai court premises in September.

The ATS did not immediately disclose the details of how Usmani, an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad and Surat blast cases, was held.

Usmani had escaped from the sessions court premises near Kalaghoda in the high security South Mumbai district in September. He scripted his escape during lunch hours when police escorts took a group of accused to the court canteen for lunch.

Usmani (38), who hails from Sangarpur village in Uttar Pradesh\'s Azamgarh district, later visited the house of a relative and borrowed Rs. 600.

The IM operative was a hotelier in the western suburbs of Mumbai and is believed to have handled finances for the banned outfit.

He was among the 21 IM members arrested soon after the Ahmedabad and Surat blasts by the crime branch. According to the police, the group was involved in the conspiracy and each member had played different roles in the execution of the blasts.

The group, also suspected to be behind a series of blasts in various Indian cities since 2005, used unsecure WiFi locations in Mumbai to send threatening emails minutes before the explosions took place at Ahmedabad and Delhi in 2008.

According to the investigating agency, Usmani stole the car used in the Ahmedabad blast.

The agency claimed that he stole cars that were later laden with explosives and used in explosions around the country.

Usmani, who lived at Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai, was a mid-level organised crime figure before he came in touch with Aftab Ansari, who was among the chief architects of the homegrown IM, said a police official.

Usmani, who had moved from Mhow to Mumbai, handled several money laundering and extortion operations for Ansari. The money was used for funding the IM, the official who did not want to be named added.
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