After Mumbai, Kochi, Ahmedabad the intelligence agencies have traced the link of Lashkar- e- Taiyebba (LeT) operative Tahawwur Hussain Rana to West Uttar Pradesh.
A senior police on Friday confirmed that Rana (48) an associate of David Coleman Headley arrested by FBI for plotting terror attack in India and Denmark visited Hapur, Meerut, Ghaziabad and Agra in November 2008. The sleuths of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and UP Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) have picked up few persons at Hapur for interrogation.
Rana stayed at a house in Hapur and the occupants claim to be distantly related with him. After staying at Hapur for three days Rana left for Agra and stayed in a hotel for two days. That Rana visited Taj Mahal and the surrounding localities often have sent the intelligence officials into tizzy. The hotel where Rana stayed was located near the Taj Mahal.
“We are trying to find out if the monument of love attracted Rana or he had some ulterior motive” the police officer said and added that Intelligence Bureau in its advisory has alerted the state government that Pakistan based terrorist groups might target the tourists and religious spots. “Rana might have conducted recce of Taj and passed the information to LeT”, he said.
A Canadian citizen of Pakistan origin Rana was running immigration consultancy service in USA and Canada. FBI picked Rana on October 18 from his house located in North Chicago. “He was also in meat business (he ran grocery shop at Devron, Chicago) and might have developed links in this region, as biggest slaughterhouses that export meat to Middle East and Europe are located in Meerut and adjoining districts”, the police officer said.
ATS is also working on the link of Headley and Rana with the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives. Thirteen militants wanted by the police in Delhi serial bomb blast case (13 September 2008) are missing that include the top operative of IM- Mirza Sadab Baig, Dr Shahnawaz, Assadullah Akhtar, Iqbal Batkal, Riyaz Batkal and Aamir Raza Khan. Majority of them are native of Azamgarh district. Rana might have helped them to escape to Canada and Gulf countries through his immigration agency. The call details of Dr Shahnawaz collected by ATS indicates that he was in touch with Headley and Rana.