x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Man defends Dubai father over Mumbai bomb claim

The son of a Dubai resident who has been named in connection with last year's deadly Mumbai bomb blasts says his father has been wrongfully implicated in the case.

DUBAI // The son of a Dubai resident who was implicated in last July's Mumbai bomb blasts says his father is being wrongfully accused.

On July 13 last year, bombs exploded in Dadar neighbourhood, the Zaveri Bazaar and the Opera House of Mumbai, killing 27 people and wounding 127.

In a 4,788-page charge sheet released by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad squad on Friday, Muzaffar Kola, who lives in Deira, was named for allegedly supplying laundered funds to the terrorists.

Mr Kola, the owner of Muzaffar Kola Enterprises in Dubai, is one of six people named.

Reports in India say he is accused of helping to transfer about Dh66,000 to Yasin Bhatkal of the Indian Mujahideen.

"My family is being wrongfully targeted by the media and the police. It's a big conspiracy," said Mr Kola's son Mohammed Obaid, 30.

Mr Kola is a father of 10 children who are spread across Dubai, India and Oman. The family hails from Bhatkal area of Karnataka.

"Whenever a bomb blast takes place in India, the name of our Bhatkali community is mentioned," Mr Obaid said. "It is high time the Indian media and the police stop doing this. We are a peace-loving community."

He said his father was in India, but had learnt of the news through media. He said neither he nor his father had been contacted by police.

"We are Indians, not terrorists," Mr Obaid said. "We go to our native country every six months and can't even think of harming our fellow countrymen. It's absolutely absurd.

"If my father was involved in the blasts he should have been on the run by now. He is in India at the moment and no police officer has contacted him as part of investigations.

"It's shocking. The police do not have any evidence against my father."

Mr Obaid said his family had been running their trading business for more than three decades and had never committed such crimes.

"We are businessmen, not terrorists," he said. "It's a big propaganda against our family."

Mr Obaid said his father was a religious man who was suffering from cancer.

"His vocal chords have been removed due to illness," he said. "He can't even speak properly. It's unfair to target him.

"My father is confident that he will come out clean from the issue. He has been telling everyone not to worry, and he has not done anything wrong. He is confident of clearing his name."

The Indian consulate in Dubai refused to comment on the matter, saying it was security-related.

The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad could not be reached for comment.