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LeT, ISI plotted Mumbai train blasts, says police

The revelations are made by Mumbai police chief AN Roy as he wraps up the nearly 3-month-long probe. Fifteen people had been arrested so far, and there is conclusive evidence against 12 of them. Your take?

india Updated: Oct 01, 2006 02:40 IST

The Mumbai serial train blasts of July11 were planned by Pakistan-headquartered Lashkar-e-Taiba with the active support of ISI and executed by three modules made up of Indian as well as Pakistani nationals, Mumbai Commissioner of Police AN Roy said on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai to announce the completion of investigations into the blasts that killed nearly 200 people and injured over 700, Roy said 15 people had been arrested so far, and there was conclusive evidence against 12 for their involvement in the crime.

Roy added that there was not enough evidence against three of the arrested and they could be freed.

Piecing together the gory plot, Roy said the blasts were planned in Pakistan in March and thereafter many of those arrested underwent training at the Bahawalpur camp in the neighbouring country under notorious LeT operative Azim Cheema.

After training, 11 Pakistani nationals entered India in three batches through different routes: Three came via Nepal, another three entered through Bangladesh and the last batch of four sneaked through the Gujarat border. Ehsanullah, another Pakistani, brought 15 to 20 kg of RDX explosive with him.

Roy said Faisal Sheikh of Mira Road, one of the three key accused besides Kamaluddin Ansari of Madhubani in Bihar and Ehtesam Siddique of Mira Road, made arrangements for the stay of Pakistanis at four places in Mumbai.

The commissioner of police said the bombs were assembled at Shivaji Nagar in Chembur. The explosives containing RDX and ammonium nitrate were packed in five-litre pressure cookers, eight of which had been bought but only seven were used.

The bombs, which were fitted with quartz timers, were then put in bags and camouflaged with newspapers and umbrellas and taken to the seven railway stations by groups of two people each, one Indian and a Pakistani, Roy said giving the details.

He said one of the seven Pakistanis, Salim from Laohore, could not get off the train in time and was killed in the blast. His body was the only one not to have been identified after the blasts, Roy added.

The police commissioner said four of the seven Indians involved in the blasts had been arrested. They were Faisal Sheikh, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesam Siddique and Naved of Khar. Three were still at large, Roy added but refused to reveal their names as a hunt was still on for them.

Roy said of the 11 Pakistani nationals involved in the terrorist attack, two have been killed while nine are still large and may have escaped to Pakistan. The two killed are Abu Umed, who was shot in an encounter, and Salim, who is believed to have died in the blast.

Giving details of how the Mumbai Police went about the investigations, Roy said the first clue came from technical analysis on the day of the blasts and all key suspects were rounded up on July 14-15. The first arrest, of Kamal Ansari, was made on July 19 when calls made from Navi Mumbai after the blasts were traced to Madhubani in Bihar.

A visibly pleased Roy took the opportunity to point out how the media got impatient at times with the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) that probed the blasts but explained that the police briefings were deliberately kept vague so as not to affect the investigations.

Roy also praised the Crime Branch for cracking the module commanded by Faisal Sheikh. Two other modules led by Kamal Ansari and Ehtesam Siddique were busted by the ATS.

The blasts probe, which Roy said ranked among the most comprehensive to be undertaken in the country, was conducted by nine teams, two of which provided technical support.

First Published: Sep 30, 2006 14:22 IST