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Close to cracking 11/7, say police

Mumbai top cop says LeT, in cahoots with SIMI, carried out the blasts, report Abhishek Sharan and J Dey.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2006 03:45 IST

Investigations into the 11/7 serial blasts are at a "critical stage" and the police are on the verge of cracking the case, Mumbai Police Commissioner AN Roy has said. The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) carried out the bombings, with active support from the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Roy said.

"We are very close to cracking the entire case and the details will be disclosed at a press conference within a few days," Roy said. "The blasts were the handiwork of the LeT, with logistical support of the SIMI."

On July 11, seven RDX-based 'cocktail' bombs ripped through seven first class coaches of suburban trains during rush hour, killing 192 people and injuring hundreds.

Top investigators who spoke on condition of anonymity said the breakthrough came after two suspects - unani doctor Tanvir Ansari and Kamal Ahmed Sheikh, who was arrested from Madhubani, Bihar - were put through narco analysis and brain mapping tests at Bangalore's Forensic Sciences Laboratory. Roy, however refused to confirm this. "I do not want to talk about the results of scientific tests," he said.

As the final pieces of the July 11 blasts jigsaw appear to fall into place, forensic evidence is emerging as the key to the success of the investigations spanning two-and-a-half months and several states, officers closely involved with the probe said.

The officers refused to be named, but KP Raghuvanshi, chief of the Mumbai Police's Anti-Terrorist Squad, confirmed "scientific examinations have helped a lot in the probe".

Based on investigations, the police on Monday sought further remand for Bandra resident Faisal Sheikh, 31, and his software engineer brother Muzammil Sheikh, 22, arrested earlier in connection with the blasts.

Faisal, according to senior investigators, used a team of between seven to nine Pakistani Lashkar operatives along with six local Lashkar members to execute the blasts.

Faisal's men included his younger brother Muzammil, a 22-year-old computer engineer.

Police sources close to the investigation claimed the 500 gm of black powder seized from suspect Kamal Sheikh house in Bihar's Madhubani district was identical in chemical composition to the substance that was found at Faisal Sheikh's home: 85 per cent RDX and 15 per cent tar.

This has led the police to believe the two samples were part of the same deadly consignment, the sources said. Their statements could not be confirmed officially.

The sources also said Faisal Sheikh had revealed the 15,000 Saudi riyal found on him had been remitted directly by his Pakistan-based handler and alleged mastermind of the blasts, Azam Cheema.