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Cops hope Jundal's interrogation will expose wider Lashkar network

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2012 03:10 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Abu Jundal

The police expect the interrogation of Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Abu Jundal alias Zaibuddin Ansari to help unravel the whereabouts of two more Lashkar commanders who went off the intelligence radar after the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul.

Like Jundal, the duo is suspected to have risen in the LeT's hierarchy and be actively involved in the terror outfit's anti-India operations.

Sources in the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said that by the time they had learnt about Jundal and his involvement in the arms haul, his two key associates had given them the slip. Identified as Fayaz Kagzi and Ejaz, both residents of Aurangabad, they now figure in the wanted list in the Aurangabad case.

On May 8, 2006, Kagzi and Ejaz had accompanied Jundal to Mumbai in a Tata Sumo from Aurangabad. On May 9, Kagzi and Ejaz are said to have caught flights to Iran, from where they were scheduled to fly into Pakistan.

"The three of them were old cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi)," a senior ATS official, on condition of anonymity. "They used the Iran route frequently to sneak into Pakistan, where they were trained by the LeT to recruit people in India."

Kagzi and Ejaz's name surfaced during the interrogation of Abdul Azim alias Raza, the driver of the Sumo who was caught after the arms haul. "We rushed to the airport and scanned the passengers' list of every flight to Iran. We got confirmation about Kagzi's flight, but Ejaz had changed plans and did not fly that day," the officer said.

Later, the ATS learnt that Ejaz had sneaked into Bangladesh, from where he flew to Pakistan. "There has been no news of the duo ever since," the officer said. It is suspected that the duo has changed their names, masqueraded as Pakistanis and participated in multiple terror strikes in India.

Jundal's interrogation is also expected to reveal the source and transit of the massive cache of arms and explosives recovered during the 2006 haul. A total of 16 AK-47 rifles, 3,200 live cartridges, 43 kg of RDX and 15 hand grenades (of Pakistani make) were recovered.

The arms and explosives were packed in computer UPS and had been brought in shipments. "We checked the records at Mumbai, Nhava Sheva and Kandla ports, but nothing was found," the officer said, adding that Jundal's interrogation will not only reveal the source of the arms and explosives but also the names of those persons/officials who helped clear the consignment at the port and those who helped in the transit.

"This will expose the bigger LeT network, which has traditionally been involved in the smuggling of arms and explosives into India," he said.

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