The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT’s) city module was preparing to bomb Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), India’s premier nuclear research and fissile material producing complex.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Meeran Borwankar said this was revealed by the LeT’s western India commander Faisal Sheikh (32), who’s in police custody for his alleged role in the 11/7 blasts. Sheikh apparently claimed that he had been ordered to do so by Azam Cheema, LeT’s India commander.
This revelation came just before Friday’s warning by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan that the LeT was planning to attack India’s atomic energy installations. “It’s a very serious threat,” Narayanan said during a TV interview.
Sheikh, said Crime Branch officers interrogating him, takes orders “directly from Cheema and enjoys considerable clout in operational and financial matters in the LeT.” Intelligence Bureau officers are also part of the interrogating team.
“Sheikh said Cheema had asked him to survey BARC’s security cover to find flaws and then target the facility,” said a senior officer who interrogated Faisal and his younger brother, Muzammil (22), who too is in police custody for his alleged role in 11/7. Muzammil is said to be an important member of the LeT’s city module.
Faisal allegedly received huge amounts of money regularly from Cheema through hawala channels for “operations and recruitment.” Each recruitment is said to cost the LeT Rs 50,000. That includes arranging a visit via Iran to LeT’s Bahawalpur base for training that Cheema personally supervises.