FBI questions Fahim Ansari and Sabbauddin

During the interrogation, Fahim Arshad Ansari allegedly told his interrogators about his training in Pakistan, including the 21-day basic combat course. Pakistan awaits India's response to its 30 questions
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Updated on Feb 22, 2009 06:22 PM IST
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PTI | By, New Delhi

As officials of the FBI wind up the probe into the 26/11 strikes, the US agency has questioned Fahim Arshad Ansari, arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police last year, and confronted him with the lone surviving terrorist of Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab.

The FBI agents, accompanied by central security agencies, quizzed Ansari and another Lashker militant Sabbauddin for several hours before winding up their Indian chapter of investigations and planning their next stage of probe in Pakistan, official sources said.

The FBI had made the request through proper channels for questioning Ansari and Sabbauddin, militants of banned Lashker-e-Taiba, who were brought to Mumbai in December last year as a follow up to the probe into the 26/11 attacks, the sources said.

During the questioning, 35-year-old Ansari, a resident of Navi Mumbai, allegedly told his interrogators about his training in Pakistan, including the 21-day 'Daura Aam' (ordinary tour) basic combat course which was followed by a rigorous three-month advanced 'Daura Khaas' (special tour) and later by 'Daura-e-Ribat' (intelligence course).

Ansari was also believed to have been identified by Kasab as the person who had been tasked by Lashker operative Muzzamil, a Pakistani national wanted in connection with 26/11, of providing details of important places in Mumbai, the sources said, adding that the two were confronted during the questioning.

Ansari reportedly told his interrogators that Muzammil showed him Google Earth satellite maps of Mumbai and asked him to investigate the perimeter security at key locations, including government buildings, office of the Director General of Police, Bombay Stock Exchange, airports, office of Reliance Energy, Haji Ali shrine and Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels.

The interrogators were also reportedly told by Ansari that he had learned guerrilla warfare techniques as well as use of maps, compasses and global positioning systems.

Giving details about his return from Pakistan after the training, Ansari said he was provided a fake Indian driving license and a Pakistani passport and he returned to India via Nepal.

Ansari had also allegedly said after registering himself as a computer student in one of the institutes near the Mumbai Stock Exchange, he used to spend time photographing and mapping the targets he had been shown, among them, the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Taj Mahal Hotel.

On whether he had any links with global terrorist Osama bin Laden, Ansari had reportedly said he was only an ardent follower and had grown a beard like the global terrorist.

"After joining my job in Dubai, I also used to discuss about Jehadi activities and appreciate the actions of Osama. My co-workers called me as Osama as I was keeping a beard like him," the militant had told his earlier interrogators when he was arrested in Uttar Pradesh.

The FBI has already questioned Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab, the lone Lashker-e-Taiba militant involved in the November 26 terror strikes, for over nine hours recently to ascertain about his role and handlers in Pakistan.

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