Delhi: The ill-gotten wealth from the Saradha chit fund scam was allegedly used to fuel terror activities in India by a Bangladesh-based group after money was diverted to bank account in Bangladesh, intelligence reports have indicated.
Central intelligence agencies are exploring the terror nexus as part of a probe into the explosion at Burdwan in West Bengal on October 2 that killed two suspected terrorists.
The money trail of the Saradha scam leading to the Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has turned the spotlight on West Bengal-based politicians, who are already under the scanner in the Saradha scam, sources said.
The highly-placed sources said an intelligence report submitted to the home ministry on the Burdwan blast states that suspicions about some politicians in West Bengal having links to the terror network need to be investigated.
During its probe into the Saradha scam, the Enforcement Directorate discovered that money was sent to Islami Bank Bangladesh to be invested in real estate. Sources said this was a modus operandi adopted for laundering money. Besides Bangladesh, money from the scam was also allegedly sent to some West Asian countries in the guise of investments. But with intelligence agencies suspecting that the money was diverted to the JMB for terror activities, sources say it is essential to probe the terror angle.
Intelligence agencies believe that `60 crore was transferred to Islami Bank through some politicians who were allegedly involved in the multicrore Saradha chit fund scam that is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate. The role of some leaders of the Trinamool Congress is also under scrutiny in the scam.
“The Islami Bank is known to have close links with the radical group Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. The money from the scam routed to the group could have been used to fund JMB, which is planning terror strikes in India and Bangladesh,” said a government official.
The JMB, a group banned by Bangladesh in 2005, is allegedly responsible for the Burdwan explosion. It is said to be an offshoot of the Jamaat-e-Islami and has now set up a network in India. The group’s aim is to replace Bangladesh’s democratic set-up with an Islamic state based on Shariah.
The explosion at Khagragarh in Burdwan district killed two suspected terrorists, Shakil Ahmed and Sorvan Mandal. Investigators are on the lookout for Kausar and Abul Kalam, two prime suspects suspected to be Bangladeshis. The six persons arrested so far by West Bengal Police include two women, Rajira Bibi alias Rumi, the widow of Ahmed, a Bangladeshi who is said to be a top commander of JMB, and Amina Bibi, wife of Sheikh Hakim alias Hasan Saheb, who was injured in the blast.
Besides the six persons arrested in West Bengal, six more suspects were arrested in Assam for allegedly being part of the conspiracy hatched by JMB to carry out terror strikes.
The Burdwan blast case is now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Centre transferred the case despite reservations expressed by TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal. The Home Ministry, in its order transferring the case to NIA, stated that JMB was targeting states like Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and UP.
“Members of the group are conspiring to commit terrorist attacks in India and Bangladesh. In pursuance of the ongoing conspiracy several members of the outfit set up bases and hideouts in several parts of India. These include training camps that have trained large number of Indian youth,” the home ministry’s order said.