MUMBAI AND NEW DELHI:A key aide of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, Mustaq Mohammad Farooq, was arrested and remanded in police custody on Thursday on charges of being involved in serial blasts that tore through Mumbai in 1993.Also known as Farooq Takla, he was deported from Dubai in response to a 1995 Interpol ‘Red Corner’ notice.“The accused has participated in the criminal conspiracy as a conspirator, perpetrator in the other case with other accused like Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim and others,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told a TADA court.Farooq would be in police remand till March 19.
A CBI team brought him to Delhi by an Air India flight before he was formally arrested at the Mumbai airport. The 57-year-old was born in Mumbai. He speaks Hindi, Urdu and English. He is accused of criminal conspiracy, murder and terrorism.The CBI suspects he was the nodal person for Dawood in the serial blasts of 1993 that followed riots after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. He is also suspected to have helped at least four accused in the case to flee India and take shelter in Dubai.
On March 12 1993, a series of 12 bombs planted in cars parked near hotels, business centres, banks, petrol pumps and markets exploded across Mumbai killing 257 people and injuring 713 others.The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) court in 2006 convicted 100 out 129 accused in the case. The suspected masterminds of the attacks, Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, continued to abscond. Their aide Yakub Memon was executed on July 30 2015 after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence given to him by the TADA court.
Takla would be questioned during police custody by the CBI Special Task Force that is investigating the blasts. “His custodial interrogation is necessary,” CBI-STF Deputy Superintendent of Police Shiv Kumar pleaded in the remand note.“Farooq Takla is part of the inner circle of Dawood Ibrahim,” said a police official.
The police believe Takla gave logistical support to accused Salim Bismillah Khan alias Salim Kurla. He is said to have arranged air-tickets for him to Pakistan via Dubai to be trained in handling weapons and explosives.The police said Takla had probably fled India before the serial blasts. They had found it difficult to track him down because of his skills in couriering people between Dubai and Karachi without immigration stamps on their passports.