The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Saturday arrested an associate of gangsters Dawood Ibrahim and Abu Salem, Abdul Majid Kutti alias Mohammad Kamal (58), from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand for allegedly smuggling explosives and automatic weapons from Pakistan to carry out bomb blasts in Gujarat and Maharashtra on Republic Day in 1997. On Sunday, he was brought to Ahmedabad for questioning, police said.
Kutti, ATS officials said, was living at Barinagar in Jamshedpur since May 2019 after he returned to India from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia allegedly on a fake Indian passport in the name of Mohammad Kamal.
On December 23, 1996, police had arrested one Mohammad Fazal Pathan, a native of Ajmer in Rajasthan, at a check post on Mehsana highway with a vehicle carrying four kilograms RDX, 10 detonators, 125 automatic pistols (115 Pakistan-made star pistols and 15 China-made pistols), 113 magazines and 750 cartridges. The consignment, police said, had been shipped from Pakistan via Rajasthan’s Barmer, a border district, and was being taken to Gujarat and Mumbai in Maharashtra for an alleged terrorist attack on January 26, 1997, allegedly at the behest of Dawood Ibrahim and Abu Salem.
Besides Pathan, two more accused — Anwar Qureshi alias Pappu Akhtar and Shakil Ibrahim Qureshi — were also arrested in the case later. A Mehsana court had awarded life imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine to the three accused and the then chief judicial magistrate of Mehsana had also issued warrants against Dawood Ibrahim, Abu Salem, and Kutti. According to police, Kutti and Abu Salem had allegedly sent Pathan, the latter’s associate, to receive the explosives’ consignment from Barmer and ship it to Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Born in Mumbai’s Mahim area in 1962, Kutti had studied till class 10. His father, Mohammad Ahmad, ran a chemist shop in the city and died in 1978. After the death of his father, Kutti went to Dubai in 1984 where he did the work of glass fitting in a company, KK Patel, deputy superintendent of police, Gujarat ATS, said. Later, he returned to Mumbai and met Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, Abu Salem, Mohammad Dosa, Mustafa Dosa, Chhota Shakeel, Tiger Memon among others, and started petty gold smuggling and custom thefts from Dubai to Mumbai, the officer said.
“In 1996, when Kutti was in Dubai, he met Abu Salem and they together hatched a conspiracy to commit a terror attack on Republic Day in 1997 in Mumbai and Gujarat. For that purpose, Salem fixed a man, Mohammad Fazal Pathan from Ajmer, to bring the consignment (of explosives) from Barmer to Mumbai. However, after the consignment was caught, Kutti informed Salem that his man had been arrested and he himself fled to Bangkok where he stayed till 1999. It was in Bangkok that Kutti met one Mohammad Inam from Jamshedpur (then in Bihar) who told him to get a fake passport in the name of Mohammad Kamal. Kutti acquired the passport and used it to travel from Dubai to Malaysia for gold smuggling,” Patel said.
Later, he settled in Kuala Lumpur and started a clothes business. It was in May 2019 that Kutti returned to India and settled in Jamshedpur (in Jharkhand), the officer added.
The ATS said they recently received a tip-off about the presence of Kutti in Jamshedpur. “After we received a tip-off, a team was sent to Jamshedpur and Kutti was detained. In our preliminary interrogation, the accused has confessed that his real name is Abdul Majid Kutti. He has been brought to Ahmedabad today (Sunday) and his Covid-19 test is going on as per procedure,” Patel added.
According to a warrant issued in 1996, Kutti is wanted under Indian Penal Code sections 120B for criminal conspiracy, 121 for waging war or attempt to wage war against the government of India, 122 for collecting arms with the intent to wage war against the government of India, and 123 for concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war against India, besides sections of the Arms Act and Explosives Act.