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UP attack ammo meant for Mumbai

india Updated: Dec 11, 2008 23:57 IST
Abhishek Sharan

The arms and ammunition used by a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba suicide squad to attack a CRPF camp in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, on December 31, 2007 were to be used later during a proposed terror attack in Mumbai, under the leadership of its local operative Faheem Ahmed. This is what the interrogation report (IR) of arrested Lashkar operative Sabahuddin Ahmed alias Saba alias Farhan said.

Ahmed’s IR, a copy of which is in the possession of HT, states that his Pakistani mentor Muzammil alias Yusuf — identified by Indian security agencies as one of the main plotters of the November 26 Mumbai attacks — allegedly directed him to “collect the weapons used in the attack on the CRPF camp and hand them over to one Fahim Ansari, a Maharashtrian Lashkar operative, since he was to use them in an attack in Mumbai later”. Ahmed added, “I contacted Lashkar operative Mohammed Shareef to procure the weapons from the men involved in the attack and give them instead to Fahim.”

Ahmed said that on his directions, Shareef “collected the weapons from one Abdul Ghani Meer, the owner of Friends Printing Press on Pampur X Road, Kashmir”. “Shareef deposited the weapons for its later use with his brother-in-law Gulab Khan.”

Ahmed, who was allegedly made “chief of Lashkar activities being directed from its Kathmandu base by Muzammil”, orchestrated the Rampur attack with the help of Pakistani operatives Mohammed Farooq, Imran Shehzad alias Ajay and Shareef alias Sajid. After the operation, the IR says, the Rampur attackers intimated Ahmed about its “success” telephonically.

The Mumbai Crime Branch, which is investigating the 26/11 attacks, is expected to take custody of Ahmed and Ansari on Friday from the Uttar Pradesh Police’s Anti-Terrorist Cell in connection to their probe. Ahmed, who was arrested early this year by the UP police, had revealed that he had carried out a recce of a range of potential terror targets, including the Taj and Oberoi hotels.

Ahmed’s IR indicates his alleged proximity to the Lashkar leadership based in Pakistan — especially with Muzammil, his deputy Abdul Aziz alias Vali and the terror group’s operations chief Abu Al Qama, who directs the terror operations of the Indian terror group Indian Mujahideen. He was also allegedly close to another Pakistani Lashkar operative Abu Hamza alias Amir, the man Ahmed accompanied to Bangalore to launch an attack on the campus of the Indian Institute of Sciences on December 28, 2005, in which a retired professor of the Indian Institute of Technology died.