Mumbai attacks: First evidence of home-grown terror link
The first evidence of a home-grown terrorist link to the Mumbai attacks emerged today as police revealed an Indian suspect arrested earlier this year may have been involved in the planning.
By Damien McElroy in Mumbai
GMT 05 Dec 2008
Officers said they had maps seized from a man picked up in February suggesting intelligence gathering had begun more than a year ago.
Police apparently failed to recognise the importance of the nine maps, which included detailed floor plans of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and marked the position of Mumbai’s main railway terminus, after arresting Faheem Ansari.
Both locations were targeted by gunmen last week, alongside a hotel complex, a restaurant and a Jewish resident.
Ansari, who was born in India, has been accused of joining the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) after emigrating to Dubai five years ago.
Officials said that he subsequently travelled to Pakistan where he was trained by LeT leader Yusuf Muzammil at the same camp where the lone survivor of the Mumbai attacks, Amir Azam Qasab was allegedly trained.
Ansari was arrested in February in northern India carrying hand-drawn sketches of hotels, the train terminal and other sites that were later attacked in Mumbai, said Amitabh Yash, director of the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police.
Mr Ansari also had up-to-date blueprints of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel that were better than those available to the security services, Mr Yash said.
The revelation amounted to a double blow for the government and security forces, which have suffered a public backlash as anger grows over security lapses that led up to the deaths of 171.
Indian terror suspects linked to Mumbai plot
The Times, December 6, 2008
Police arrested four Indian Muslims for alleged involvement in a planned
attack on Mumbai as early as February, a senior police officer who
handled the case told The Times yesterday.
One of them, Faheem Ahmed Ansari, was carrying a fake Pakistani passport
and a list and maps of nine targets in southern Mumbai, including the
Taj Mahal hotel and other sites attacked last week, the officer said.
The revelation appears to undermine India’s assertion that the attack on
Mumbai last week, in which 171 people were killed, was planned and
executed only by Pakistani members of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba
(LeT), which has links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Security officials and experts have told the Indian Government that it
faces a growing threat from home-grown Islamic militants recruited from
the country’s 150 million-strong Muslim population. The officer’s claim
also raises questions about Indian authorities’ failure to respond to
warnings of an attack on Mumbai.
Ansari and his alleged accomplices were arrested on February 10 in the
cities of Rampur and Lucknow in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh,
according to Amitabh Yash, director of the Special Task Force of the
state police. They were charged with involvement in a gun and grenade
attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur that killed at
least seven officers and one civilian in the early hours of December 31.
Also arrested were three Indian Muslims and two Pakistani nationals -
all of them members of LeT – as they attempted to transfer weapons used
in the Rampur attack by train to Mumbai, he said. “We can’t be sure of
their intentions, but all of them were moving to Mumbai with weapons
when they were captured,” Mr Yash said. “It clearly reveals the mindset
The weapons they were carrying included two AK47s, a Chinese pistol and
five grenades, he added.
Ansari was found with a list, maps and even sketches of nine Mumbai
sites, including the Taj and Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai’s
main railway station, which was also attacked last week, Mr Yash said.
Ansari told police interrogators that he had come to collect the weapons
from Uttar Pradesh having carried out a recce of potential targets in
Ansari was born in a slum in Mumbai and was recruited by LeT when he
took a job as a mechanic at a printing press in Dubai in December 2005,
Mr Yash said. He was taken by boat to the Pakistani port of Karachi a
year later and then on to an LeT training camp in Muzaffarabad, the
capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
There he met Yusuf Muzammil, an LeT operative named by Indian officials
as one of those who master-minded the Mumbai attacks, Mr Yash said.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only gunman to be captured alive, has said
that he was trained in the same camp, according to police interrogators.
Ansari was given a fake Pakistani passport and used it to go first to
Nepal, and then to India, where he resumed his Indian identity and
travelled to Mumbai, Mr Yash said.
He rented an apartment, did a computer course and qualified for a driver’s
licence, all the time checking out potential targets, before travelling
to Uttar Pradesh in February. “His instructions were to find a safe
house, get weapons and carry out a recce,” he said. “He had done that
recce and come to collect the weapons from Uttar Pradesh.” Ansari was
first interrogated in Uttar Pradesh and then handed to Mumbai police in
February, while the other five remained in custody there.
Mumbai police also questioned Ansari before placing him in judicial
custody, where he remains, Mr Yash said, adding that he had passed all
the information his team gleaned to the Intelligence Bureau, which
handles India’s domestic security.
Indian investigators are now understood to be questioning Ansari again
to cross reference his testimony with that of Kasab.
Two more arrested for Mumbai terror attacks
6 Dec, 2008, 1044 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM
NEW DELHI: Two more men, Tausif Rehman and Mukhtar Ahmed, have been arrested in connection with the deadly terror attacks that rocked Mumbai killing more than 180 people.
Tausif was arrested from West Bengal, while Mukhtar — a Jammu and Kashmir police constable, was hand picked up by the Kolkata police, according to a Times Now report.
The duo were arrested by the special task force of the Kolkata police. Both Tausif and Mukhtar are believed to be associated with the SIM cards used by the Mumbai terrorists.
Earlier, intelligence sources said they had intercepted conversations between Muzammil, Muzaffarabad chief of LeT operations, and a certain Yahya in Bangladesh.
Yahya reportedly arranged SIM cards, fake id-cards primarily from western countries like Mauritius, UK, US, Australia. A Mauritian identity card was found on one of the terrorists shot down.