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Dawood hand in attack?

india Updated: Dec 02, 2008 23:55 IST
Stavan Desai

As investigations into the November 26 terrorist attack progress, a link is emerging with the 1993 serial blasts that point to the possible involvement of Pakistan-based mafia don Dawood Ibrahim in the attack.

A Mumbai Crime Branch team of two officers on Tuesday detained one Abdul Sattar for questioning at Porbandar in connection with the attack. Sattar, who used to work for Dawood’s landing agent, Mammumian Saiyeed, was arrested in 1993 for his
alleged involvement in the landing and transport of a part of the arms and explosives used in the serial blasts.

Saiyeed, who is notorious locally for being a smuggler, had landed three consignments of arms and explosives for Dawood between January and February 1993 at Gosabara, 30 km off the coast of Porbandar, and had transported them to Mumbai. These were later used in the blasts. Saiyeed fled to Dubai after this, but Sattar was arrested. He was later released on bail and the case is on trial. Saiyeed was, however, deported from Dubai in December 2004 and is presently being questioned by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.

“He (Sattar) has not been arrested. The Mumbai Crime Branch team is investigating him,” said Deepankar Trivedi, Superintendent of Police, Porbandar, told HT.

Police officers involved in the investigations say that the trawler, M.V. Kuber, which was commandeered and used by Ajmal Amir Kasab and the other nine terrorists to reach Mumbai belonged to a fisherman at Porbandar. Also, Sattar, like Saiyeed, possesses a very sound knowledge of the sea routes between Karachi and Porbandar. So, the police are questioning him about the November 26 attacks on suspicion.

Meanwhile, the Kutch police, investigating the case relating to fake fishermen’s identity cards, as reported by HT on December 1, has found that some unidentified persons had sought to get the fake cards issued for working on a trawler identified as Al Farooqi. The trawler belongs to one Hamid Ali Sodha and has been found to have conducted fishing expeditions off the coast of Gujarat bordering Pakistan. The Kutch police is now investigating Sodha’s links and, through him, will attempt to identify the persons who sought to get those cards issued.