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Call to Pak from Trident victim’s cell

india Updated: Jul 13, 2009 00:06 IST
Stavan Desai
Stavan Desai
Hindustan Times
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Several hours before the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008, are known to have landed, calls were made from the VoIP connections of their Pakistani handlers to cellphones of people at Nariman House, the Trident and the Taj.

This is evident from the call logs in a February 18 report of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is part of the 11,000-page chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch of the Mumbai police in the special court trying the 26/11 case.

The first of these calls from a VoIP connection was made at 1.44 am on November 26 to the cellphone of Gabriel Hertzberg, who was held hostage with his wife and six others at Nariman House.

He was later killed. Call duration: 271 seconds.

At 4.48 pm, a call was made from a VoIP connection to one of two cellphones later used by the four terrorists who took over the Taj hotel. Call duration: 430 seconds.

Less than an hour later, at 5.37 pm, a 90-second call was made to one of the VoIP connections from the cellphone of Ritu Agrawal, one of the 35 killed at the Trident. Two minutes later a call was received on Agrawal’s phone from a VoIP connection. Duration: 289 seconds.

The chargesheet says the terrorists, including Ajmal Amir Kasab (20), the only one captured alive, landed on the Mumbai coast on November 26 between 8.30 pm and 9 pm.

Crime Branch chief Rakesh Maria said: “... Calls were made on the cellphones (used by the terrorists) only after the midnight (of November 26).”

The call logs show that before midnight on November 26, 43 calls lasting 415 minutes in all were made to three of the five cellphones, which the charge sheet says were used by the terrorists during the siege.

The 38-page FBI report, compiled at the Crime Branch’s behest, contains records of calls made from a US-based voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service provider International Connection Service (ICS), Inc. to numbers in India between November 23 and 28.

According to the chargesheet, a man named Karak Singh had bought 30 Callphonex connections posing as a VoIP reseller from India.

Investigations showed that payments were made from Pakistan and Italy. Singh, about whom security agencies know very little, has been named as one of the 35 yet-to-be-arrested accused in the case.

He is said to have facilitated communication between the terrorists and their “handlers” in Pakistan. The call logs, however, do not say where the cellphones involved were located.

The location is not revealed because these are the call logs of the VoIP connections. But if the cellphones’ call detail records are analysed, the locations could be pinpointed.

The chargesheet is silent on whether this has been done.