The early morning arrest of 60-year-old Mohammad Yaqub Janijua and 31-year-old Aamer Yaqub Janijua took place just days before the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed and scores injured
Police in the northern Italian town of Brescia on Saturday arrested two Pakistani nationals, a man and his son, on charges of aiding and abetting the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. The money transfers they made paid for the activation of a U.S.-based internet account or Voice-over-IP (VOIP) service which was used to issue orders from Pakistan to the terrorists as they went on their killing spree in Mumbai.
The early morning arrest of 60-year-old Mohammad Yaqub Janijua and 31-year-old Aamer Yaqub Janijua took place just days before the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed and scores injured. Two other Pakistanis were arrested on Saturday on charges of making illegal money transfers and smuggling people but they are not suspected of being part of the Mumbai terror network. Another Pakistani national escaped.
Stefano Fonzi, head of anti-terror police in Brescia, told The Hindu on the telephone that the DIGOS, or central anti-terrorism cell of the Italian police, had relied heavily for their leads on information provided by the FBI and the dossier given by India to several western governments, implicating Pakistan. The present investigation was conducted by the DIGOS and coordinated by the Public Prosecutor in Brescia. The Italian Guardia di Finanza, equivalent to the Indian Customs service, was also involved.
“We started working on this matter last December. The suspects were kept under watch and we went through the Madina Trading agency’s accounts for the last three years. We discovered that the Brescia-based outfit had made several transfers using the identity of totally innocent, unsuspecting persons. Thus there were over 300 transfers in the name of a certain Jawaid Iqbal who had never even set foot in Italy,” Dr. Fonzi said.
“The names of Janijua father and son did not figure in the dossier given us by the Indian authorities, but the name of the money transfer agency was there. The person who was listed as having given the order for the VOIP service was this Mr. Iqbal. This was a false identity used by the suspects, as we discovered. His identity was probably stolen when he used another money transfer agency in Pakistan. The order to transfer the money on the eve of the Mumbai attacks was given by two persons who are in Pakistan and the names of these two persons, which cannot be divulged at this moment, have been communicated to the persons investigating the terror attacks in Mumbai. At our end, the investigation has come to an end. It will be taken forward by the judiciary and other agencies,” Dr. Fonzi said.
Asked whether the names of the two persons in Pakistan who had given the order for the VOIP service to be put in place had also been communicated to Pakistani police looking into the attacks, Dr. Fonzi said: “We have activated international police channels and this piece of information has been relayed to all those concerned by these attacks. The next steps in this matter will not depend on us, the investigating agency, but on the judiciary. Today the two suspects are in jail and they will be produced before a magistrate. I am not in a position to say if the Indian police have already made a request to interrogate the two suspects. The arrests took place at 6 a.m., so all that is still being sorted out. Whether there will be an extradition request, and further questioning, when and by whom does not depend on us,” Stefano Fonzi told The Hindu.