On June 20, 2011, Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal had earned 60 riyals for the day as an electrician and had gone to bed in the quarters given to him by his employer when he was woken up by a knock at the door. He did not know that those were his last few moments of freedom. Advocate Sayeed, who had arranged for his work permit in Saudi Arabia three days ago, had come to his house and asked Jundal to accompany him.
During interrogation, Jundal has stated that Sayeed drove his car straight to the Al-Qatif police station in Saudi Arabia, and handed him to authorities. At that time, Jundal was known as Riyasat Ali, a resident of Sheikhupura from Lahore, Pakistan.
However, Saudi Arabian authorities soon broke down his resistance and he accepted that he was Zabiuddin Ansari. He was later lodged at Damam jail.
Police officials, who have interrogated Jundal, believe that senior Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders had always found Jundal suspicious, and after the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, they had no further use of him.
“One can distinctly sense that Lashkar commanders distrusted Jundal. If one had to draw an analogy between Jundal and David Coleman Headley [the man who conducted reconnaissance for the 26/11 attacks], it is clear that Jundal was not part of any key meetings to chalk out the attacks,” said a senior police officer, on condition of anonymity.
During a 34-hour interrogation, Headley gave out minute details on how top Lashkar leaders plotted the 2008 Mumbai strike, but even after four months of interrogation by state and central agencies, Jundal has thrown little light into the Lashkar’s core committee, the officer said.
In an interrogation report that HT has accessed, Jundal said that senior Lashkar commanders Sajid Mir alias Wasi, Abu Kahafa and Abu Anas were not happy with his performance after the 26/11 terror attacks. Jundal, who tried to earn a living by joining his Pakistani wife’s relative in second-hand car business shop, was chided by senior Lashkar commanders, who told him to do some work (read, conduct terror strike in India) or return to India.
Muzzamil alias Yusuf, chief of Lashkar’s India operations, then asked Jundal to leave Pakistan and operate from Saudi Arabia.
Muzzamil, Jundal said, had charted out his entire route to Saudi Arabia and even paid 16,000 Saudi riyals to get him the work permit.