2 key arrests in red sanders case

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 07 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Two days after 23 tonnes red sanders were seized in mid-seas, the crime branch on Saturday arrested diesel smuggler and murder accused Mohammed Ali who provided logistic support and his key associate Feroz Hassan.

Red sanders were seized in a joint operation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Coast Guard while being shifted onto a vessel from a barge Thursday. The sanders were to be smuggled to Dubai.

A crime branch team had visited Ali's house on Friday but he refused to show up and instead agreed to be present before the crime branch on Saturday. He produced several court orders to stop the crime branch from initiating any action. Officials went through it and later arrested him, an official said. Officials declined to comment whether they would invoke MCOCA against Ali.

Hassan was stopped by the emigration department Friday night after a lookout circular was issued against him. "Hassan handled the Dubai operations once the smuggled red sanders reached there,'' an official said. Hassan was also assigned to smuggle banned items into India when the vessel carrying red sanders returned, the official added. The crime branch has arrested 18 others, mainly crew members of the vessel and the barge.

Crime branch took over the investigations on a complaint lodged by Coast Guard. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Sadanand Date said,"We have taken over the investigations and now we are trying to find the source of the red sanders." TOI was the first to report about the case in its Friday edition.

Meanwhile security establishments have informed the crime branch about Ali's background including the possible assistance he extended to David Headley prior to the 26/11 terror attack. Ali's close associate Sayyed Chand had helped Headley carry out a recee in the sea during his visit. Later Ali fell out with Chand and orchesterated his murder. Ali was arrested and recently came out on bail on health grounds. Officials said the possibility of people travelling from Dubai on vessel's return journey without documents and later landing in Mumbai to carry out a similar attack on the lines of 26/11 cannot be ruled out.

`Prima facie it appears that Mohammed Ali has supervised the entire operation and we have information that he had allegedly financed the accused in smuggling which has connection with the international cartel which needs to be probe," an officer said. Sources said that one Ayub and Noora who were also involved in the smuggling of imported cigarettes last year also played a key role.

Police said that Marvan 10 boat is registered in the name of Yakoob Hassan Ali and is registered in SriLanka and it has been leased to one Razzak Surani from Kutch in Gujarat and the barge Ganga Sagar barge was registered in Mumbai in the name of Yasmin Ibrahim, a resident of Wadala. Sources said that the barge was seized four years ago by the coast guard for moving around suspiciously.

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