Jundal silent on ISI role in 26/11, say investigators

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 02, 2012 19:34 hrs

Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal alias Abu Hamza, a key accused in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack case, in which 166 people were killed, has admitted his role. However, he refuses to give information about the involvement of Pakistan’s state agencies, say investigators.

Ansari has admitted his role in the Nariman House attack and acknowledged he was constantly talking to the terrorists during the attack, investigators said.

“We have matched his voice sample from the recorded conversation during the Mumbai attack. Though he is talking about his role in giving Hindi lessons to terrorists and identifying places in Mumbai, he is not ready to give information about involvement of ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistan government’s spy agency) in the attack,” said a senior official.

  • Zabiuddin Ansari was a resident of Beed district in central Maharashtra
  • He taught Hindi to the 10 Pakistani terrorists involved in the 26/11 attack
  • He had handled the Nariman House attack. His voice in the recorded conversations was identified by Ajmal Kasab
  • Initially, as part of SIMI, he had been to Kashmir and Nepal for arms training. He was indoctrinated after the 2002 Gujarat riots
  • Ansari was the main financier for terror activities and had conducted major recruitments for the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and acted as a link between the Laskhar-e-Taiba and IM
  • His first involvement as a key terrorist was in the Indian Institute of Science attack in 2005 at Bangalore
  • His involvement was also alleged when several automatic rifles, grenades, explosives and ammunition were found in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. He then fled India to evade arrest

Officials said the entire operation to track Ansari and bring him back to India was coordinated by the Intelligence Bureau. He was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, on June 21, when he arrived on a commercial plane, not on a special flight of the Research and Analysis Wing as reported earlier, they said.

Although the special cell of the Delhi Police arrested Ansari, the questioning is being done by IB sleuths, who want to extract information about his role in the Pakistan-based terror outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and the involvement of Pakistani state actors in the attack.

Investigators are also finding it difficult to get information on the sleeper cells of LeT in India. Senior officials elaborate Ansari was a “more hardened terrorist”, whose main job was to identify and indoctrinate recruits.

Ansari has also told the investigators that he was initially given the code name Abu Hamza, later changed to Abu Jundal in 2008 because his handlers in LeT did not want him to be identified during the investigations into the 26/11 attacks.

During the course of interrogation, Ansari has identified the people whose voice was recorded by the intelligence agencies during the Mumbai attack. Ansari has told the investigators around 10 people were present in a safe house in Karachi, which acted like a control room during the attack.

He has also confessed not all the ‘handlers were present in the control room at the same time. People kept coming in and going out of the premises during the attack.’

Investigators believe Ansari had joined the banned Students Islamic Movement of India at the behest of a school senior after the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Later, he was sent to Kashmir for training in small arms.

Intelligence agencies had first found the involvement of Ansari in 2005 during the investigation into the attack on Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore. Though Ansari managed to avoid getting arrested, his name again came up when the Mumbai police recovered 14 AK-47 rifles, grenades, RDX and ammunition in Aurangabad in 2006.

Senior officials said Ansari has also confessed of helping LeT recruits to plant seven bombs in Mumbai in July 2007, the first major coordination between LeT and the Indian Mujahideen.

Though Ansari was wanted by several police oragnisations, he could manage to enter India twice between 2006-07, through Bangladesh and Nepal.

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