LeT man, RAW in same chat room

11/7 mastermind Raheel Sheikh and RAW sleuths meet at an unusual location, reports Abhishek Sharan.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2006 02:16 IST

For a while, 11/7 mastermind and top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Raheel Sheikh and sleuths of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) met at an unusual location: a cyber space chat room.

According to sources in the central intelligence agencies, Raheel was using the chat room to give instructions and get feedback from his city-based Lashkar associates ever since he fled the country in May.

An associate of Raheel, who is under detention, disclosed this to the 11/7 blasts investigators.

The investigators decided to follow the lead. They asked the Raheel's associate to draw Raheel to that specific chat room.

He then interacted with Raheel through e-mail and persuaded him to visit the chat room. At the time specified by Raheel, the detenue entered the chat room and chatted with him.

During the conversation, Raheel "gloated about the success of the 11/7 blasts" and revealed certain details about the operation, claimed sources.

Blast investigators and RAW personnel were monitoring the interaction.

On being prodded by the probe team, the detenue asked Raheel to chat with him using a web cam and contact him on a cellphone number.

That is when he clammed up. "By then, Raheel had probably been alerted by his other city-based associates. So, Raheel sent an e-mail, rebuking the detenue for trying to trap him," said the source.

Top terrorist outfits like the Al-Qaeda and Lashkar frequently use e-mails and other cyber tools for communication.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has hundreds of cryptographers and hackers who are trying to listen to their cyber conversations.

First Published: Sep 27, 2006 02:03 IST