The arrest of two people in the state with close links to Maoists has exposed a major terrorism racket being run by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence.
The ISI, according to police commissioner Shankar M Bidari, is funding naxal activities in the state and the money is being pushed through by Mumbai gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his associate Chota Shakeel.
The City Crime Branch (CCB) investigations found that that the two arrested – Vinay Kumar, 30, of Ramanathapura in Hassan district and Devaiah alias Sachin,33, a resident of HMT Layout in Bangalore – were associatesone Altaf alias Rakesh, a former owner of a bar at Residency Road and a close aide of Chota Shakeel.
The underworld don’s associate had asked Altaf, a native of Mangalore taluk in Dakshina Kannada, to help make contact with Maoists to allow hawala money fund naxal operations in south India, Bidari said.
Not just have these arrests revealed the first clear attempt of the ISI to fund terror acts by Maoists in India, it has also brought the Bangalore police closer to solving the mystery behind the April 17 blasts at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium before a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) match.
Altaf is a key suspect in the cricket stadium blast case, and the arrest of Devaiah and Vinay (who was a bouncer in Altaf’s bar in Bangalore) will significantly help nab Altaf who is hiding in Dubai, sources in the CCB said. Vinay and Devaiah were on a mission along with three hardcore naxals to hand over funds to Maoists in Andhra Pradesh earlier this month. The money was to fund spreading terror among people in that state as well as Karnataka and other neighbouring states, Bidari said.
They were nabbed along with the three Maoists on August 4 at the Hyderabad international airport by a team comprising Bangalore and Hyderabad police personnel, minutes before they could escape to Dubai. While Vinay and Devaiah were brought to Bangalore by the CCB, the three Maoists were detained in Hyderabad for further questioning.
Police officials said Altaf received money illegally from abroad. His closeness to hawala syndicates operating from Dubai forced him to close down his bar in the city and move to Dubai.