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Terror funding mastermind was living in Pune since March: ATS

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Mumbai, The alleged mastermind of Gorakhpur terror funding case, arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and Uttar Pradesh police on June 20, was living in Pune since March, an official said today. Ramesh Shah (28), who was on the run for the last four months after his name surfaced in the investigation, was arrested in Pune. His presence in Pune was detected first when security agencies traced his mobile phone in Vadgaon area earlier this month. The information was passed to Maharashtra ATS, which started searching for him, the official, who was involved in the operation, said. The cell phone, which mostly remained switched off, was activated on June 18, and a call was made, which gave out Shah’s possible location.

ATS team laid a trap and nabbed Shah, when he, having fever, was visiting a doctor’s clinic in Pune with two of his acquaintances on June 19, the official said. The UP ATS was informed, and it arrested Shah formally on June 20, he said. Shah was allegedly in touch with his `handlers’ in Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, and had the responsibility to make available people who were asked to open bank accounts in fake names through which money was received and transferred.

At Shah’s instructions, more than Rs 1 crore were routed from Pakistani handlers to terror operatives, according to the ATS. “We are investigating whether Shah had any connections or network in Maharashtra,” the official said. In March, UP ATS arrested ten persons for alleged links to Lashkar-e-Taiba and involvement in terror-funding activities.