India's ‘Grade-1' evidence against Hafiz Saeed in the Mumbai attacks

The dossier New Delhi gave to Islamabad on the JuD chief was drawn from the confessions of the 26/11 accused

March 27, 2011 01:52 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:26 pm IST - CHENNAI:

On August 21, 2009, India handed over a dossier to Pakistan linking Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to the Mumbai attacks.

The same day, T.C.A. Raghavan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, called an “urgent meeting” of Ambassadors of several western countries and Japan, and shared this, the sixth in India's Mumbai attacks dossier diplomacy series.

A U.S. Embassy cable sent from New Delhi on August 24, 2009 ( >222018: confidential ) and accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, contains the full text of the dossier along with a report of the meeting.

The dossier is drawn almost entirely from the confession of the surviving gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and statements by Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin. The three are accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan described the material in the dossier as “Grade-1 evidence.”

While Kasab was eventually sentenced to death by the Mumbai trial court, the other two were acquitted as the court found the evidence against them to be insufficient and wanted to give them the “benefit of doubt.” The verdict was upheld by the Mumbai High Court in February 2011.

Both Ansari and Sabahuddin are involved in other cases. Sabahuddin is facing charges for the 2008 attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, and the 2005 blast at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Fahim has a case pending against him in Rampur for alleged forgery and possession of a weapon.

This is an excerpt from the Hafiz Saeed dossier, as conveyed by the cable:

“…In this confession [of February 21, 2009 before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai], [Ajmal Amir Kasab] narrated the entire story beginning with his recruitment and ending with his arrest in Mumbai. Portions of his confession statement which refer to Hafiz Saeed are summarised below.

7. Kasab went to Lahore looking for work. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) was holding camps at different places. Kasab and his friend used to visit these camps and they decided to take training for preparing for jihad. In December 2007, Kasab and his friend Muzaffar Lal Khan reached the office of LeT in Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi. They were recruited. They went through a 21-day period of training between December 2007 and January 2008. It is during this training that he first met Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Muzammil @ Yusuf, Abu Umar Said, Abu Hamza, etc.

8. Hafiz Saeed spoke to the trainees on many occasions. Once he said, ‘all the mujahiddins have to fight for freeing Kashmir'. When they were at the training camp located in the Chehalabandi mountain of Muzaffarabad, Hafiz Saeed visited the camp. There was another person whom Hafiz Saeed embraced.

Kasab was told that he is ‘Major General Saab' and that the trainers were ‘his men only'. When Kasab and others reached Sevai Nallah, Hafiz Saeed was present. It was Hafiz Saeed who selected the trainees and gave them new names. He named Kasab as Abu Mujahid. Kasab underwent marine training and subsequently was taken to Baitul Mujahiddin, a training camp.

Hafiz Saeed was present and inquired about the marine training. Three days later, Hafiz Saeed and others sent six mujahiddin to Kashmir to carry out an attack. On the l3 day of Roza, the selected mujahiddin were called to the office of the Baitul Mujahiddin camp and Hafiz Saeed told them ‘the time for jihad has come. Now we have to decide how to attack Hindustan'. Major General Saab came to the place and wanted to see their preparedness. Hafiz Saeed told Kafa to set up 10 targets. The mujahiddin were asked to shoot at the targets.

Kasab fired at target number 4. Major General Saab complimented Kasab and said ‘you have completely destroyed the target and I am very much pleased'.

9. After the training, Hafiz Saeed and another person made 5 ‘buddies' from among the 10 mujahiddin. Kasab was paired with Ismail Khan.

10. Instructions were given to the 5 pairs of terrorists to carry out the attacks in Mumbai. Hafiz Saeed told them ‘one Hindustani boat has to be hijacked for going to Bombay from Karachi'. Hafiz Saeed fixed the time as 7:30 p.m. to carry out the attack and justified the time by saying ‘at this hour there is considerable crowd at the places of our target'.

11. At the camp, Hafiz Saeed and others took the 10 mujahiddin to a big hall. It was described as the control room of the media wing. The roads in Mumbai and the targets were shown on a big screen.

12. On 22 November 2008, the terrorists left Karachi to carry out the attacks in Mumbai.

13. Fahim Ansari is the second accused in the case. He had been apprehended on 9th February 2008 as an accused in the CRPF, Rampur Camp attack case (1st January, 2008). When he was interrogated in the Mumbai attack case, he made a statement on 18th December 2008 in which he stated that, at the end of training in Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed and others visited the training camp. Hafiz Saeed and others also addressed the trainees and asserted the importance of jihad.

14. Sabahuddin is the third accused in the case. He had been apprehended on 10th February 2008 as another accused in the CRPF, Rampur Camp attack case (1st January, 2008). When he was interrogated in the Mumbai attack case, he also made a statement on 20th December 2008 in which he stated that during his training in Pakistan he was taken to Muridke which is 50 kms. away from Lahore on the Lahore-Islamabad highway. That is where Hafiz Saeed and others were based. Sabahuddin was in a safe house for about 3 1/2 months till mid-March 2003. When Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest, he offered a special prayer at Mochi Darwaza in Lahore. Sabahuddin saw Hafiz Saeed for the first time at the prayer and he claimed that he was ‘enlightened by his preaching during the prayer'.”

(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via WikiLeaks.)

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