‘Otherwise, control room to coordinate attacks could not have been established in Karachi’
Upping the ante against Pakistan, India on Wednesday reiterated that without the involvement of “state actors,” the Karachi control room could not have been established to coordinate the Mumbai terror attacks, even as New Delhi started the process to get another alleged terrorist Fasih Mohammed extradited from Saudi Arabia.
“It is no longer possible to deny that though the incident happened in Mumbai, there was a control room in Pakistan before and during the incident. Without state support, the control room could not have been established,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists here.
After Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman captured alive who clearly talked about the involvement of “state actors” in the attacks, Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal, now corroborated the claim, Mr. Chidambaram said. “After Abu Jundal’s interrogation, it was clear that there were state actors. Dots are increasingly getting joined. Though there were many pseudonyms, it is clear that state actors were there. Pictures are getting clearer and clearer. We have been able to know who were there and where they were.”
Mr. Chidambaram said India knew who trained Ajmal Kasab and nine others who carried out the strikes in Mumbai in 2008 and who briefed them from the Karachi control room. Criticising Pakistan for denying that there were no “state actors” involved in the attacks, he said no sovereign state could allow terror activities to emanate from its soil. “I can’t allow any non-state actor to carry out any terror activity in a neighbouring country.”
Referring to Fasih Mohammed’s arrest in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Chidambaram said: “He is in Saudi Arabia…he was detained there. Steps will be taken to extradite him to India. A Red Corner Notice has already been issued [by Interpol]...he was wanted in several cases.” The 28-year-old engineer is wanted for his alleged involvement in Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium blast and Delhi’s Jama Masjid shooting incident.
NIA seeks Ansari’s custody
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) moved a Delhi court for Zabiuddin Ansari’s custody to interrogate him about the larger conspiracy hatched by the Lashkar-e-Taiba for terror strikes across the country.
The Delhi Police Special Cell told the court that it had allowed the NIA to interrogate him jointly with it. The court deferred the NIA’s plea to Thursday, when police custody expires.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav told NIA counsel Ahmed Khan that he could not pass orders unless the Special Cell revealed whether it intended seeking further custody of Ansari.
However, counsel clarified that the interrogation of Ansari, done in the custody of the Delhi Police, related to the NIA case of a larger conspiracy to wage war against India, including the 26/11 attacks; but the agency needed his custody for investigation in respect of an FIR it registered on June 8 against Ansari and another person for allegedly amassing explosives. The FIR was filed on the direction of the Home Ministry, and the terrorists targeted not only Mumbai and Delhi but the whole of India.
(With inputs from Jiby Kattakayam)