Mumbai, Jan 23: The Mumbai ATS today claimed to have cracked the conspiracy behind the July 13 blasts at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar which killed 26 persons, with the arrest of two Darbhanga residents who helped dreaded terrorist Yasin Bhatkal to carry out the explosions.
Naki Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Sheikh, 22, and Nadim Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh, 23, residents of Devram, Bamdeoli, Darbhanga, have been arrested for providing stolen scooters, fake sim cards and apartment to Yasin Bhatkal and his associates to carry out the deadly blasts, said Rakesh Maria, Mumbai ATS chief.
After going through 696 hours of cctv footage and talking to 12,373 witnesses, and traversing 18 states, the ATS finally managed to crack the case, Maria said.
He thanked Rajesh Kumar, IG Kolkata Police, Mishra, IG Samastipur, Arora, Addl DG Intelligence, Punjab and Garima Malik, SP Darbhanga, for providing valuable assistance, manpower and logistic support to the ATS.
Maria said, Naki Ahmed came from Darbhanga and settled in Mumbai in September 2010, while Nadim Akhtar was staying in Antop Hill.
Both of them stole two scooters - MH01 WA 3042 (dark metallic grey colour) from CP Tank area, Khadilkar Road and used it for the blast in Zaveri Bazar, and MH12 CJ 6502 (maroon coloured Activa) stolen from outside Harkishandas Hospital and used in Opera House blast, Maria said.
The two had also stolen two other motorcycles on Aug 23 night and October 26, 2011, for "future use" and these have been seized in Darbhanga, the ATS chief said.
ATS have recovered the duplicate keys used to steal the scooters, and a helmet belonging to the original owner has also been recovered.
In addition, Naki Ahmed procured SIM cards for Yasin Bhatkal and his associates, named 'A' and 'B' by Maria, for carrying out the blasts.
Yasin Bhatkal alias Ahmed Faraz alias Imran gave to Naki Ahmed Rs 1.5 lakhs to aid and assist in the crimes. A total of Rs 10 lakhs were paid through the financial trail that involved hawala transactions, Maria said.
We have enough evidence to corroborate that Nadim Akhtar got from Yasin Bhatkal a packet containing clocks to be given to Naki, the ATS chief said. The packets also contained explosives and detonators, brought to Mumbai from outside by train, he added.
Naki Ahmed assisted Yasin Bhatkal in getting accomodation in Mumbai, Maria said. Two of the flats were rejected, and the one Habib Apartments in Byculla was finalized and paid for by Naki Ahmed.
It's not that Naki did not know the antecedents of Yasin Bhatkal. The latter had been going to Darbhanga since 2008 to indoctrinate youths and create a module, Maria said.
Naki Ahmed also aided and abetted Bhatkal in carrying out recce of the scenes of crime. He enrolled himself in a gym in Kumbharwada, and subesquently got Bhatkal enrolled for the 7 pm to 8 pm timing, barely one km walking distance from the gym.
Two of the accused suddenly vacated the Habib apartment on Nov 27 or 28, when the Delhi blast accused were arrested, leaving behind computer, cash and clothes, Maria said.
The ATS chief said, wanted accused 'A' and 'B' planted the scooter bombs in Opera House and Zaveri Bazar.
A third accused is already in custody in connection with counterfeit currency case. He was arrested on August 22 last year and ATS is seeking his remand. We need his custody for probe into the economic trail and conspiracy, Maria said.
Both Naki and Nadim were arrested on January 12. There was a group of boys from Darbhanga, Pune and Mumbai who were involved in the racket of providing sim cards based on bogus papers. Some of the sim cards were used by the accused in the blast case, Maria said.
ATS has also arrested one more accused Ganesh Vithal Tikole from Mumbra, he added. So far eight persons have been arrested, and three including Yasin Bhatkal are absconding.
Maria ruled out any Mumbai underworld connection with the 13/7 blast accused.
"Yasin was here in June and July. He left on 13th of July and has not come back. He is the main accused in this crime", said Maria.