Police on Monday claimed to have arrested one more person allegedly involved in a suspected terror funding case in north Bihar’s East Champaran district.
East Champaran superintendent of police (SP), Upendra Sharma said suspect Mohammad Akhlaq was arrested on Sunday night from Mahesha village in Runnisaidpur police station area of neighbouring Sitamarhi district, 138 km north of the state capital, Patna.
Police had earlier arrested two persons in East Champaran district on Saturday in connection with the case and recovered chequebooks of different nationalised banks from their possession.
Sharma said the arrested persons were being interrogated to find out if they were involved in a terror funding racket or just engaged in making money by illegal means.
Raids were on to arrest another suspect Mohammad Islam, a teacher in a government primary school at Chiraiya in East Champaran, he said.
The police had swung into action after a cheque for Rs 98.5 lakh, deposited in the Uttar Bihar Gramin Bank’s branch at East Champaran district headquarters town of Motihari, 153 km north of Patna, was found to be fake. The cheque was deposited on August 1 by a farmer, Motilal Chaudhary of Turkauliya village in the district.
The cheque had details of Punjab National Bank (PNB), Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir) as drawee branch and Amazon Trading Company as issuing authority. When it was sent to the Motihari branch of PNB for clearance, its senior branch manager KS Mishra got suspicious. After a thorough examination of the entries in the cheque, it was found that the account number of issuing agency and name of bank’s branch had been tampered with.
Mishra immediately contacted the Baramulla branch of PNB, which said no chequebook with the number mentioned on the leaf had been issued by it to the Amazon Trading Company. Mishra, then got in touch with issuing company, which said the firm made payments only online.
Suspecting foul play, the PNB officer lodged an FIR with Motihari town police on Saturday. Acting on the complaint, the police arrested Chaudhary.
Sharma said during interrogation, Chaudhary revealed that Asif Iqbal of Chiraiya had handed over to him the cheque with a promise to give him Rs 10 lakh if it was encashed. Iqbal, who was later arrested from near India-Nepal border, said he was given the cheque by Akhlaq, the police added. Akhlaq told the police that he was handed over the cheque by Mohammad Haroon of Delhi, to whom he was introduced by Islam, Sharma added.
“We are trying to ascertain if the matter was related to terror funding. After the crackdown on terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir, there are reports of attempts being made to channel the fund through north Bihar,” Sharma said.