GORAKHPUR: Terror funding kingpin Ramesh Shah, who was arrested in Pune by an Uttar Pradesh police team on Wednesday, once sold vegetables for a living.
Ramesh Shah (28), picked up by Uttar Pradesh's anti-terror squad (ATS) in a joint operation with Maharashtra Police, entered the property business and then went on to open a large grocery store here called Satyam Mart, his family members said.
He has now been brought to Lucknow on transit remand and produced before a court, which sent him to police custody for seven days.
Ramesh Shah's father Harishankar and his wife Sushila came to Gorakhpur from their native Gopalganj in Bihar about 30 years ago.
Harishankar started selling vegetables under the Charphatak overbridge in Mohaddipur area, and Ramesh Shah joined him in the trade when he grew up.
A year ago, when Shah launched Satyam Mart on Medical Road his family believed he had used his savings from the property business.
But police have charged that he was involved in passing lakhs of rupees sent by Pakistani handlers to terrorists, and this had brought in the money.
"We live in a very simple tin-shed house at Sarvodaya Colony in Bichchia area and Ramesh used to live with us along with his second wife," the father said.
Harishankar said Shah kept another wife at a rented house in Shahpur's Jharna Tola Teachers' Colony.
"He told us that he was going to attend a marriage on March 6. As he usually stays out for long periods, we did not lodge a 'missing report' with police over his long absence," Harishankar said.
"Earlier, he was in the property business and from his savings he opened the mart," Harishankar said.
The store is now shut, he said.
Shah's mother Sushila claimed she too helped her son with the money for opening the store.
Shah's first wife used to live at a house owned by retired bank officer Ramji Pathak.
"Ramesh was very good in his behaviour and we never got a hint that he was involved in anti-national activities," Pathak said.
An ATS spokesman said in Lucknow that Shah recently suffered from dengue and will be taken in for questioning only after the police get a fitness report on him.
Shah's name had cropped up during the interrogation of six people arrested in Gorakhpur on March 24 for funding terrorists on the directions of their handlers in Pakistan, police said.
They revealed during interrogation that it was on Shah's instructions that over Rs 1 crore changed hands between the Pakistani handlers and the terror operatives, an ATS spokesman had said.