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Updated: January 16, 2010 03:08 IST

Tape hints at Indian national in 26/11 control room

    Praveen Swami
    Vinay Kumar
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Three-year-old Jewish child Moshe, along with a relative pays tribute to his parents Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and Rivka who were killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack on Chabad House in Mumbai. File photo: PTI
PTI Three-year-old Jewish child Moshe, along with a relative pays tribute to his parents Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and Rivka who were killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack on Chabad House in Mumbai. File photo: PTI

Evidence is emerging that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba controllers who guided the course of the November 2008 assault on Mumbai may have included at least one Indian national.

In a five-and-a-half-minute conversation with Imran Babar - the Lashkar terrorist, who, using the code-name Abu Akasha, took control of a Jewish prayer house in the Colaba area - a still-unidentified controller who appears to have been a native Hindi speaker provided detailed instructions to the terrorist on the contents of a statement he hoped to make to the media.

The conversation was among more than 200 phone calls made by the Lashkar controllers to the assault team on voice-over-Internet and satellite phones.

During the conversation, the controller used words like karenga - characteristic Mumbai usage for the phrase "will do" - as well as gathbandan, in place of the Urdu word, ittehad, for alliance, and prashasan, instead of intezamiya or hukumat, for government. All other conversations recorded in the tape are in Punjabi, Urdu and heavily-accented English.

Babar was ordered to identify himself as a resident of Hyderabad's Toli Chowki area - a neighbourhood that produced several Lashkar-linked Indian jihadists, including ranking Karachi-based commander Abdul Khwaja, who operates using the code-name 'Amjad'.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving Lashkar assault team member, had told a Mumbai court that his unit had been taught rudimentary Hindi by an Indian national who was known by the alias 'Abu Jundal'.

Maharashtra Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam at that time dismissed the claim, noting that Kasab had never earlier "disclosed the involvement of any Indian."

"I strongly suspect that he is not telling the truth," Mr. Nikam said.

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury in Chicago has indicted Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for their role in organising reconnaissance operations that preceded the attack. Along with the fugitive Taliban commander, Illyas Kashmiri, the two men were also indicted for planning attacks against a Danish newspaper the Jyllands Posten.

Three Pakistan-based Lashkar operatives - identified only as 'A', 'B' and 'C' by the FBI - were in constant telephonic contact with the assault team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has charged. Lashkar member 'A' also sought Kasab's release in return for the release of a hostage, the FBI says.

Indian intelligence sources told The Hindu that A was most likely to be Sajid Mir - a shadowy figure many believe is 'Zarar Shah' who had overall control of technical parts of the operation.

The sources said the other three suspects could include Lashkar military commander Muzammil Bhat.

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It is sad that the slightest demand for an impartial and resolute enquiry into terrorism related activities in India is likely to be dismissed as being anti-secular in nature. This certainly does not augur well neither for secularism, nor for safety and nor for democracy.

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: Jan 17, 2010 at 16:56 IST

Immediately after the 26/11 attack, I had been wondering as to how this sort of anarchy could be carried without involvement of local elements that too as the attack involved lot of huge logistical support, which would have been impossible to start with. Our home minister known for jumping to conclusion even without even bothering to investigate anything when similar doubts were raised, admonished those who dared to think of Indian involvement. Now that such reports are coming out openly, will Mr Chidambaram stop talking such things?

from:  S.R. MURALIDHARAN
Posted on: Jan 16, 2010 at 13:27 IST

Quite interesting piece of information. I am sure our politicians would be very quick to reject it and would close eyes on the involvement of Indian nationals in 26/11.

from:  Naveen Kumar
Posted on: Jan 16, 2010 at 03:44 IST
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