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Cops couldn’t prove he was ‘local link’

mumbai Updated: May 04, 2010 01:48 IST
Presley Thomas
Presley Thomas
Hindustan Times
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Fahim Ansari (36), an alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative arrested from Uttar Pradesh in February 2008, was an activist of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India. He joined the Lashkar during a visit to Dubai in 2003.

A resident of Motilal Nagar slum in Goregaon (West), Ansari allegedly surveyed the Taj and Oberoi hotels, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the police commissioner’s office among other installations before 26/11.

Police sources said that after returning from Pakistan, Ansari stayed at Sunlight Guesthouse near Grant Road under the name Shahil Paskar from November 28 to December 10, 2007. He was travelling on a Pakistani passport [BM6809341] issued on November 1, 2007, as Hammad Hassan.

One of the first places he allegedly visited was Badhwar Park, where the terrorists landed on November 26, 2008. He identified a safe house at Falkland Road on December 10, police claimed. Ansari paid an advance of Rs 50,000 and a month’s rent of Rs 3,000, telling landlady Shanta Bhonsle that a few of his friends would be visiting, police sources said.

He joined a computer training centre and enrolled at Good Luck driving school near JJ Hospital under the name Samir Sheikh. Ansari told interrogators the Lashkar planned to use the sea route to attack Mumbai and strike hotels. Ansari allegedly surveyed the hotels and supplied details to his Lashkar handler, Mohammed Muzzamil.