Gujarat ATS nabs Mumbai serial blasts accused

Caught travelling to Dubai from Mumbai on a Pakistani passport.
Wanted in Rs 1,500 cr narcotics smuggling case.

Ahmedabad: In a late Sunday night swoop, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad on arrested Munaf Halari, a prime accused in the 1993 serial blasts and wanted in a Rs 1,500 crore narcotics smuggling case.

He was picked up when he was going to Dubai from Mumbai via a transit flight, on a Pakistani passport. Halari was arrested on the basis of a specific intelligence received by K K Patel, ACP of Gujarat ATS Gujarat.

He was wanted in a case of heroin smuggling through Gujarat Coast in which five Pakistani nationals were arrested from high sea on January 2, 2020.

The ATS said Munaf Halari is also a prime accused in the Mumbai serial blasts case, “in which he had played vital role” and Red Corner Notice was issued against him on the request of CBI.

He is a close associate of Tiger Memon, one of the main conspirators of the 1993 Mumbai blasts of the year 1993. It may be recalled that a series of bomb explosions in Mumbai on March 12, 1993, claimed 257 lives and injured 713 people. It caused destruction of properties worth more than Rs 27 crore.

After the serial blasts in Mumbai he had fled to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, and then to Bangkok. His associate and conspirator of the serial blasts, Tiger Memon, got Pakistani passport prepared for Halari with the help of Pakistani authorities. His Pakistani passport is in the name of Anwar Muhammad. He was in constant contact with Tiger Memon and took shelter in Nairobi on the basis of assumed identity of a Pakistani mational.

In Nairobi, he ran a business in the name of Magnum Africa and later on instructions of Tiger Memon, shifted to export-import of grains, especially rice. The ATS said in the guise of export-import, Halari was trying to smuggle explosives and contraband to India.

The interrogation of the 5 Pakistani nationals, who were caught on the high-seas, revealed in their questioning that the consignment belonged to Haji Hasan of Karachi. Haji Hasan had in telephonic conversations promised Halari that he will be able to infiltrate Gujarat Coast with explosives also.

Munaf Halari had entered India twice on a Pakistani passport after absconding in 1993. He had come in India last in 2014 through Atari border and visited Mumbai. The ATS has seized the Pakistani passport.