NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency has arrested an alleged hawala operator from Uttarakhand in connection with its probe into the activities of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba in India, an official spokesperson said here today.
Abdul Samad, the fifth person arrested in the case, was nabbed in Haridwar yesterday and brought to Delhi where he was produced before a designated court.
The court yesterday sent the suspected LeT member, a resident of Bukkanpur village in Uttarakhand's Haridwar district, to six days NIA custody in the case of alleged fundraising for terror activities.
Special Judge Tarun Sahrawat remanded 22-year-old Samad to the custody of the agency, which said he was required for sustained custodial interrogation.
Samad is a leading hawala operator, operating in the area of Muzaffarnagar, Deoband and Roorkee, who was acting as the conduit of an LeT financier based in Saudi Arabia through his cousin in that country, the NIA spokesperson alleged.
In November 2017, he allegedly collected Rs 3.5 lakh from hawala operators in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, to deliver it to Shaikh Abdul Naeem, an active LeT member.
Shaikh visited and established bases in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the directions of his handler Abdul alias Rehan based in Pakistan, the NIA said.
Besides Samad, the NIA has arrested Shaikh as well as Dhannu Raja and Mahfooz Alam, both residents of Gopal Gunj in Bihar, and Touseef Ahmed Malik from Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
The case started with Shaikh, a resident of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, being arrested from Lucknow in November last year. Investigations revealed that he had spent time in troubled south Kashmir and photographed some Army installations, officials said
Central security agencies, which interrogated Shaikh at length, told investigators about his accomplice, Tauseef Ahmed Malik, in Pulwama district. He was placed under arrest by the NIA on December 9.
Shaikh also disclosed during questioning that he had stayed in Pulwama, moved to various places with the help of Malik and even photographed some Army and paramilitary camps, the officials claimed.
Wanted in connection with a 2014 terror case and on the run since then, Shaikh told investigators that some important power projects and railway tracks in the Valley were surveyed, they said.
He also visited places in Himachal Pradesh, particularly Kasol, which is frequented by Israeli nationals, according to the officials.
Security agencies claimed that Shaikh was roped in for a recce mission similar to that undertaken by Pakistani-American David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in a US jail for his involvement in terror activities and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008.