The man who built up the terror module that carried out the blast at Pune’s German Bakery on February 13, Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Zabi, was part of the core team of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) handlers who orchestrated the 26/11 terror attacks, according to police sources.
Sources in the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media, told Hindustan Times that Ansari’s name came up when the agency was interrogating 29-year-old Himayat Baig, who was arrested in Pune on September 7 for allegedly planting the bomb at German Bakery. Seventeen people were killed and 56 injured in the blast.
Ansari, also known as Abu Jindal, spoke over satellite phone to the terrorists at Chabad House in Colaba during the 26/11 terror siege to motivate them, police sources said. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone 26/11 attacker captured alive, had told the special court that convicted him that a person named Abu Jindal had taught the 10 attackers to speak Hindi.
HT had reported on February 8 that Ansari was a double agent and the sole Indian among the handlers of the 10 terrorists, who laid a 60-hour siege to Mumbai on November 26, 2008, attacking six spots and leaving 166 people dead.
On May 10, 2006, the ATS and Intelligence Bureau seized 43 kg of RDX, 16 AK-47 rifles and 4,000 rounds of ammunition near Aurangabad based on information Ansari is believed to have given them. It turned out to be the biggest arms hauls outside of Jammu and Kashmir in 10 years. The ATS, when it announced the arms seizure, said Ansari tricked the police and escaped in a blue Indica that the police were chasing. It, however, has never explained how Ansari got away or why he was never arrested.
One of six children of an insurance agent from Gevrai in central Maharashtra, Ansari knows how security agencies work, ATS sources said.
An electrician by profession, Ansari did the wiring for the office of the Beed district police chief when it was refurbished in 2004-2005.