Intelligence agencies have helped bust a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba module in Nepal last week, the third sleeper cell to be cracked in the last 10 days in the region. These cells had been activated ahead of the meeting of prime ministers of India and Pakistan on sidelines of the Saarc Summit.
Top government sources said a Kashmiri man, who had been placed in Nepal for several years, was arrested last week on a tip-off by Indian intelligence agencies. The source refused to identify the suspect, saying it was up to Nepal to speak on the issue.
“He had married a local girl and had settled. This is how good their planning is,” the official said.
He added that the Lashkar handler in Pakistan for this man was also the handler for Shabir Ahmad Zargar, who was arrested in Srinagar over the weekend in connection with attacks targeting Delhi markets.
Government officials say that it is the arrest of Mohammad Zia Ul Haq on Monday from Hyderabad that gave them a clear picture of how sleeper cells operate.
Haq has been charged with a foiled conspiracy to attack the HITEC City, a major IT township in Hyderabad.
Haq — who worked as a driver for a taxi service hired by a multi-national auditing firm — had already procured the explosives and weapons supplied by the LeT.
Sources said Haq came in contact with LeT when he went to Saudi Arabia in 1995 where his father had a business. Following the Gujarat riots, he was sent to Pakistan in 2002 and took terror training in Karachi and Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir capital Muzaffarabad.
He returned to India and worked as a driver with different travel companies.
It was only in 2007 — five years after his training — that Haq was sent to Delhi to pick up explosives and firearms.
A few weeks back, Haq was finally activated by the LeT and instructed to carry out the attacks targeting the IT township.
“The National Investigation Agency picked up this information and passed it on to the police, leading to his arrest,” the official said.