A war of words has broken out between the Congress and its coalition partner in Maharashtra, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), over the alleged demands made by the terrorists during the November 26 Mumbai attacks.
The Crime Branch has taken over the investigation of the November 26 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) terrorist massacre case from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Earlier, the ATS had taken over the investigation of the case from the Government Railway Police (GRP).
As many as 55 people had been killed while 105 were injured when two LeT terrorists — Ajmal Amir Kasab and Ismail Khan — opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at commuters at the busy railway terminus on November 26 night.
Highly-placed crime branch sources told Hindustan Times on Monday that all the 105 injured who have figured as witnesses in the case have agreed to identify Kasab during the identification parade which is likely to be held at the Arthur Road prison next week.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Monday reiterated the terrorists had taken some people hostage during the 62-hour-long siege and had demanded the release of some terrorists. He added that the government had not accepted the demands.
The state Home Minister, Jayant Patil, who is from the NCP, had on Sunday claimed that no such demand had been made by the terrorists.
The issue rocked the state Assembly on Monday when senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse expressed concern over the confusion and misconception caused by Singh’s statement that terrorists had approached the government during the attacks with certain demands which were turned down. Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the government would clarify the situation on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Hindustan Times had reported that the objective of the 10-member Lashkar-e-Tayyeba fidayeen squad was not just to kill innocent people but also to seek the release of several terror operatives, including the 20 members of Indian Mujahideen, presently lodged in Indian prisons. They had planned to attain this task by creating multiple hostage situations and seek the release of the terrorists in return for safe release of the hostages.
However, the plan could not materialise due to prompt police retaliation, technical problems faced by the mobile phones they were carrying and the killing of the group’s leader Ismail Khan early in the attack, arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab has revealed during his interrogation.
(with inputs from Pradip Kumar Maitra in Nagpur)