Mumbai Police investigations indicate Pakistani role in 11/7 serial blasts

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Sunday, October 1, 2006

Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy confirmed today that investigations had revealed the involvement of the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba and the (banned) Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in the 11 July 2006 bombing of the city's commuter rail network. He also stated that the attacks had been masterminded by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and carried out by Pakistani and Indian nationals.

Fifteen people, twelve of whom were directly involved in the execution of the bombings are in custody, eleven of them are Pakistani citizens.

The conspiracy to carry out the attacks, which killed 190 people, was hatched in the vicinity of Mumbai, by militants who were trained in Bahwalpur, Pakistan. The Pakistani bombers entered India in batches, some through the porous Indo-Nepal border, others via Bangladesh and some through Gujarat. They then reached Mumbai around May 25, and were sheltered in Malad and Bandra by Faizal Sheikh. Kamaluddin Ansari and Ehtasham Siddiqui, (General Secretary of SIMI, Maharashtra) were also involved in the conspiracy.

The RDX explosive used in the blasts was brought from Pakistan by a man called Ehsanullah, while the ammonium nitrate was procured locally. The explosives were assembled in Chembur by Mumbai resident Mohammad Ali, between 8 and 10 July. On the day of the attacks, the bombs (each containing 2 - 2.5 kg of RDX and 3.5 – 4 kg of ammonium nitrate) were concealed in eight pressure cookers and transported to the railway stations in taxis.

From there two member teams of bombers placed the explosives on the trains and detonated them using quartz timers. One of the militants, Saleem, a native of Lahore, could not (as was the plan) get off the train before the explosives went off, as a result of which he perished in the blast between Khar and Bandra. Of the seven Indian suspects, four (Faizal Sheikh, Kamaluddin Ansari, Ehtashan Siddiqui and Naved) have been apprehended, while a search is on for the other three.

Mr. Roy described the bombings as a "professional, precise and well-planned". The first clue his department got was a phone call made from Navi Mumbai to a place on the Indo-Nepal border. Based on this information Kamaluddin Ansari was arrested in from Madhubani, Bihar. Narco-analysis of the other suspects revealed that they were trained in Pakistan and also helped tie up other loose ends in the case. Faizal Sheikh also revealed that he had received Rs. 60,00,000 from Pakistan in the last few years. Police also recovered 26,000 Riyals, given to him by Rizwan Devra, an ISI operative living in Dubai, from Faizal's house.

Pakistan's Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azim, denied the role of the ISI in the bombings, saying that his country "rejected" the accusation, and that India should provide Pakistan with "any information if they have it". "Such allegations only give benefit to the real culprits, who escape arrest," he said.

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