Couple arrested with AK-56 were gunrunners for D-gang

Thane Crime Branch officials said on Monday that Naeem and Yasmin Khan, the couple from whose Goregaon house an AK-56 assault rifle was seized on Saturday, wereworking as gunrunners for fugitive Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar. Investigating officials said Kaskar had hired Naeem at least a year before his arrest in 2016 for plotting to the murder of a city-based businessman. Naeem is now lodged at Thane central jail.

Cab used as cover

On July 7, the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane Crime Branch seized an AK-56 assault rifle, 95 live rounds, two 9mm pistols and 13 live rounds. The police suspect the assault rifle to be a part of the arsenal smuggled into the country before the 1993 serial blasts in the city. During her interrogation, Yasmin admitted that they delivered guns at least twice for the D-gang using Naeem’s day job as a fleet cab driver as a cover.

Senior Police Inspector Pradeep Sharma said, “Naeem drove an Innova for a cab firm. Twice before his arrest, he took Yasmin, who dressed herself in a burqa and posed as his passenger, to deliver guns on the orders of the gang. One delivery was near a fast food outlet outside Andheri station.”

Mr. Sharma said Yasmin claimed that the AK-56 had been in Naeem’s possession even before their marriage in 1999. The rifle was wrapped in a newspaper dated 1997, leading the police to believe it to be a part of the 1993 arsenal. The cache included AK-56 assault rifles, hand grenades and large quantities of RDX. Officials who investigated the blasts case believe only part of the arsenal was used in the blasts. The D-gang hid the rest at locations in Mumbai and Thane.

Mr. Sharma said, “We have filed an application in Thane Court seeking Naeem’s custody. We want to interrogate him about the seizure and the claims made by Yasmin.” The information about the cache was obtained from two people arrested with cocaine by the AEC on Thursday.

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