Counsel facilitates telephonic talk with court permission

Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the alleged handlers of terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks who is now in the custody of Delhi Police, spoke to his mother over telephone on Monday and she finally recognised him as her son.

“Zabiuddin spoke to his mother after six years. She lives at Beed in Maharashtra. It was a conversation between a mother and son, I do not have any information on what they talked about,” said his lawyer M.S. Khan, who facilitated the conversation after securing court permission. Police sources confirmed that Mr. Khan had approached them with the court approval allowing Zabiuddin to talk to his mother.

Zabiuddin’s 52-year-old mother was earlier not sure if the person in police custody was her son. She had also pointed out dissimilarities between his old photographs and those flashed in the media. “When she talked to me on the phone on Sunday, she was apprehensive if he was indeed her son,” said Mr. Khan, adding that after talking to him she recognised him.

The alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba militant went underground after the police seized 30 kg of high explosives, AK-47 assault rifles and a large cache of ammunition at Aurangabad in Maharashtra on May 9, 2006. He never contacted his family members thereafter.

Before Zabiuddin was allegedly recruited by the LeT, he worked as a technician and did a course from the Industrial Training Institute. It was the 2002 Gujarat riots that perturbed him and his friends. He, along with two friends Fayyaz and Akif, went to Kathmandu for training sometime in 2005 and met a Pakistani national named Junaid, who remained in contact with him later. Intelligence agencies learnt about his activities from the disclosures of his friend Mohammad Ameer Shakeel from Juna Bazar in Aurangabad, who was arrested along with others after seizure of the explosives and arms in May 2006.

After the explosives were seized and LeT modules busted, Zabiuddin allegedly escaped to Pakistan where he was roped in to teach Hindi to terrorists being trained to carry out strikes in India. He stayed in Karachi and Rawalpindi and remained in touch with top LeT operatives.

“Zabi used at least eight aliases like Abu Jundal, Dawood, Azam Khan, Bhatti, Rashid, Abu Ikrama, Asif Ishrar and Riyasat Ali,” said an official. He was purportedly issued a Pakistani passport under the pseudonym Riyasat Ali in January 2009, showing him as a resident of Sheikhupura in Punjab province. Using the same passport, he allegedly travelled to Saudi Arabia twice, in 2010 and then in 2011.

The police claim to have seized from him four SIM cards, one of Pakistan and three of Saudi Arabia. However, none of them was in use for the past one year and had been disconnected. The police are now making efforts to retrieve the call records.

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