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Pak has direct links in Mumbai blasts: ATS

It has enough proof of an LeT bomber and its chief's involvement in the blasts, reports Abhishek Sharan .

india Updated: Dec 03, 2006 23:13 IST

The Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) has gathered adequate evidence of direct Pakistani involvement in plotting and executing the 11/7 blasts, including confirmatory details details on at least one of the seven Pakistani bombers involved in the terror operation and Lashkar-e-Tayeba's chief Azam Cheema, which find mention in its chargesheet submitted to the MCOCA court recently.

The participation of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba's Pakistani member, a bomb 'planter' in the trains blasts case, Abu Osama alias Abu Umaid alias Abu Salem, has been established by the ATS and is backed by the required material and circumstantial evidence that were gathered by central intelligence agencies.

Osama was killed in an encounter with an ATS team on August 24 at his hideout located in Antop Hill. His associate, Mohammed Riaz, also a Pakistani national, was arrested by the ATS team.

The ATS had found roughly six kgs of explosives - RDX and Ammonium Nitrate from Osama's flat, but more importantly, the investigators stumbled upon what turned out to be a lucky quarry, his personal identity card and other such effects.

According to his personal identification details found on his body and belongings, Osama was a resident of Pakistan's Faislabad district’s Chak Chak area.

"Based on the information available with the ATS, the country's central intelligence agencies, including RAW and IB, have since conducted detailed background check on Osama's identity and whereabouts around July 11, establishing his role", said ATS chief Joint Police Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi.

The findings of the intelligence agencies' check on Osama has ``confirmed his Pakistani citizenship and residential details of Faisalabad. It has also shown that Osama went missing from Pakistan in May".

According to ATS chargesheet, 11 Pakistani Lashkar members had arrived in the city in the month of May, including Osama, and Ehsanullah who had come with 15-20 kgs of RDX that was used in the blasts.

Osama, and two other Pakistani associates (Sohail Sheikh and Abdul Razzak), had crossed the international border somewhere in the inhospitable marshy terrain of Kutch in Gujarat. One of the 13 local blast accused, Abdul
Wahid had received them in Kutch and had brought them back to the city.

Abu Osama's involvement in the blasts' execution is confirmed in the confessional statements of Wahid and Faisal made to the ATS under provisions of the MCOCA.

Besides, the ATS chargesheet details the direct involvement of Cheema in orchestrating the blasts through the Lashkar's western India commander Faisal Sheikh from okaying the proposed blasts in trains, to issuing instructions for its execution.

The ATS, however, has not been able to procure a direct proof of Cheema's instructions through e-mail to Faisal since the latter had deleted them all as per instructions.

On a request made by the ATS, therefore, said Raghuvanshi, the central intelligenceagencies are currently trying to `retrieve the e-mails sent by Cheema to Faisal that comprised of his instructions on the 11/7 attack".

The ATS believes the e mails can be received since the host servers always retain a back-up archive of all content/data generated through it.

While there is no clear date or exact details of the go-ahead given by Cheema, the ATS believes it was done in March from when Faisal and the other mastermind Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, and others, began criss-crossing the city for selecting the `target'.

Faisal and a few others apparently traveled on train from Mumbai Central to
Vasai-Virar. Cheema told faisal he will send Pakistani operatives and the necessary RDX from there.

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First Published: Dec 03, 2006 23:13 IST