The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) suspects that the massive consignment of arms and explosives that was intercepted in Aurangabad on May 9, 2006, was meant for a “spectacular” attack in Mumbai. However, the plan may have gone haywire following the ATS action and the terror group planned and executed the next attack on November 26, 2008.
“We believe the arms and ammunition were part of the first and original Mumbai attack plan,” a senior ATS official, adding that they would get more details after questioning suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Abu Jundal.
The officer said a total of 16 AK-47 rifles, double the number of magazines and over 3,200 live rounds and 43kg RDX had been recovered from two vehicles. “It was the biggest haul of arms and explosives made in the state after the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The volume of the contraband clearly indicated that it was to be used in a large scale terrorist attack. We comprehended this only after 26/11 attack,” the official said, adding that the intelligence received had also indicated that the consignment could have been meant for a terror strike in Ahmedabad.
The official said, as per the original plan, the arms consignment was supposed to have been stored in an electrical shop in Malegaon. “The attack was to be carried out by LeT operatives [along with local Simi operatives] once the bombs were assembled,” the official said, adding, “It is suspected that on account of the failure of the original Mumbai attack plan in 2006, the second plan was conceived by the terror group. Jundal had played a crucial role in the conception and execution of the second plan too.” According to the official, the LeT realised that transit of arms and explosives on road was no longer a safe. “Hence, for the next attack they used the sea route,” he said, adding that Jundal’s interrogation would reveal other operatives.