Tahir was bringing fake notes from Quetta, finds NIA
By P Ramdas | ENS | Published: 16th November 2012 09:31 AM |
Barely 10 days after Express broke the story that Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Taklya alias Dada involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast was having a free run in Kerala laundering counterfeit notes, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has confirmed to this newspaper that Tahir has been an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent for a while now. Tahir, who was trained by the Pakistani intelligence agency to circulate fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in Kerala and other parts of the country, was also a major source of funds for underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The other crucial bit of information that NIA has procured from Tahir while questioning him about the Malappuram FICN case is that much of the fake Indian currency notes circulated in the country was being printed inside a jail in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan, with the aid of ISI. The currency printed in Quetta was routed to India through shipping vessels via the Gulf countries.
Tahir has admitted to NIA that he had been working as an ISI agent with the objective of destabilising Indian economy by pumping fake currency into the system, much of which was diverted to cornering prime real estate in major cities and to fund terror activities.
Investigating officer DySP P Vikraman has submitted before the NIA court that Tahir is the mastermind behind FICN smuggling.
“Tahir, Muhammed Rafi of Chavakkad, Kamal and Abdul Majeed conspired with ISI agent Imtiaz Ibrahim alias Ibrahim.
“They collected funds for exchanging original Indian currency in place of FICN from 2007 onwards. Later, the accused obtained FICN printed in Pakistan,” Vikraman submitted.
NIA has named ISI agent Imtiaz Ibrahim as the key source of FICN. “The accused smuggled FICN into India using Dawood Ibrahim’s network, using a launch from Pakistan,” it said.
During interrogation, Tahir reportedly disclosed that the currency had been brought to Kerala through Muhammed Rafi of Chavakkad, the eighth accused in the case. The wanted criminals in 1993 Mumbai blast case, Anees Ibrahim, brother of Dawood Ibrahim, and Aftaf Bhatkal were providing aid to Tahir to smuggle FICN to Kerala.
One of the incidents cited by NIA was of May 30, 2008, when Tahir sent Rs 20 lakh through Rafi from Abu Dhabi by hoodwinking the customs officials. Sharjah police had arrested Tahir in 2008 and seized counterfeit currency worth Rs 50 lakh from him while he was trying to hand over the amount to Muhammed Rafi. Both were convicted in the case.