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Lakhvi arrest staged, Abu Jundal told police

india Updated: Dec 20, 2014 01:30 IST
Rahul Mahajani
Rahul Mahajani
Hindustan Times
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi


It was at Bait-ul-Mujahideen, the terror camp on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), that the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives who carried out the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist strike were trained. And it was from Bait-ul-Mujahideen that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested LeT’s chief operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for his role in the Mumbai terrorist strike.

But even as Lakhvi was granted bail by a Pakistani court, Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, the only Indian operative to be present in LeT’s control room in Karachi, had told the Mumbai police in 2012 that Lakhvi’s arrest was stage managed by certain elements in the Pakistan Army, who support LeT.

Jundal is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail.

A top army official had called Muzzamil Bhat alias Yusuf, the chief of LeT’s operations in Kashmir, and had asked him to destroy any possible evidence, said police sources. It was only after Muzzamil and other LeT functionaries had destroyed the evidence at Bait-ul-Mujahideen that the FIA conducted the raid, Jundal told the police. HT, which accessed Jundal’s interrogation report, learnt the Indian termed Lakhvi’s arrest as a ‘drama’.

Jundal, a native of Beed, confirmed Lakhvi was present in the control room throughout the attack and he spoke to Pakistan army officer Major Sameer during the attack. Crime branch sources said after the attack, on December 1, 2008 Muzammil Bhat alias Yusuf Bhai got a call from the Pakistan Army asking them to vacate the LeT’s Baitul Mujahideen camp, Pakistan, because they would be raiding the sites shortly.

Jundal told the police that Muzammil enjoyed a good rapport with a few Pakistan Army regulars and that was the reason he had inside knowledge and was tipped off. “It was shown as if the Pakistani Army raided the camps, but the camps were deserted long before they were raided by the army,” Jundal said in his statement.

The LeT operatives were arrested as if they were wrongly accused and the atmosphere was non-serious, Jundal told the police. However, Jundal said none of them were put in prison. “They were placed in posh guest houses and enjoyed all the comforts,” the source said.