The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police in collaboration with the Kutch police has busted a sleeper cell of Pakistan-based militant outfit Al- Badr that was operating from the Bhendi Bazaar area of Mumbai since last year.
The ATS arrested prime operative Mohammed Salim Memon alias Salim Malai (49) and two other local operatives on Sunday night from different parts of the city. Preliminary investigations have revealed that Memon is a Pakistani national and had been staying illegally in the Bhendi Bazaar area for more than 30 years, said Kutch Police (Special Operations Group) P I Dilip Agrawat.
Memon was first arrested on May 8 by the ATS from Nagpada area while in possession of 30 fake credit cards which he was attempting to sell to unsuspecting people. He was released on bail later. The ATS says it will now reinvestigate the case as it could be linked to the terror module busted by the Kutch Police.
The ATS handed over the custody of Memon and the two other operatives — Sultan Ansari (33) of Nagpada and Irfan Lakhani of Mumbra — to the Kutch police for further investigations.
“Salim is a prize catch and it would not have been possible without the Mumbai ATS’s help. He (Salim) is the link not only between the Kutch cell but also the Hyderabad cell. Through him we are now trying to establish the extent of involvement of the Hyderabad cell, which is also part of the Al-Badr module busted by us,” said SP, Kutch, Gyanendrasingh Mallik.
Memon is charged with setting up the Mumbai cell of the module after being recruited by Pakistan’s ISI in June last year and sneaking into the city a consignment of Rs 24 lakh in fake currency, which had been smuggled into the country by the Kutch cell — which included two Pakistani nationals — on March 15 this year.
Investigations have revealed that Memon and Ansari visited Kutch and brought the fake currency to the city. Here, it was split into two parts and Rs 13 lakh was sent to Hyderabad through an operative who had visited the city for this purpose. Of the Rs 11 lakh Memon retained, he gave Rs 1 lakh to Lakhani for circulation, and he and Ansari circulated the rest in the market.Lakhani operated a Public Call Office in Amrut Nagar area of Mumbra, while Ansari and Memon do not have a fixed occupation and survived on contractual jobs.