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"Lashkar" link to Mumbai blast handed over

Sheikh Shamir, who belongs to Lashkar-e-Toiba and was arrested on April 2 — played a major role in the Mumbai serial train blasts on July 11, 2006, reports Sujit Nath.

kolkata Updated: Apr 23, 2007 01:50 IST
Sujit Nath
Sujit Nath

Sheikh Shamir — who belongs to Lashkar-e-Toiba and was arrested on April 2 — played a major role in the Mumbai serial train blasts on July 11, 2006.

On July 11, 2006, a series of seven explosions killed at least 174 people on crowded commuter trains and stations. Then more than 464 people were injured. All seven blasts came within an 11-minute span, between 6.24 pm and 6.35 pm.

The confirmation came after Shamir confessed his involvement during narco-analysis test, which happened on April 19 at Bengaluru's Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).

Speaking to the Hindustan Times over telephone from FSL, Bengaluru, director BM Mohan said, "Shamir played a vital role in placing his men in all over India before the Mumbai blast. He was one of the key men behind the blast."

Shamir confessed that he helped the operatives in procuring explosives through his agents placed at Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Anantnag. "Before the Mumbai blast I took three men to Kashmir who were involved in the operation. But I don't know their names," Shamir said during the test.

Shamir, a resident of Maharashtra, was arrested along with Sheikh Abdullah, Muzzafar Ahmed Khan and Mohammad Younis by the officers of the Border Security Force (BSF) at the Indo-Bangla border in Petrapol in North 24-Parganas. While Younis and Abdullah are Pakistani citizens, Muzaffar is from Kashmir's Anantnag.

They were intercepted by the BSF's intelligence personnel when they were trying to enter the Indian territory at the Petrapol border. All of them were taken to the BSF's Haridaspur camp (193 Battalion) where they confessed that they work for Lashkar-e-Toiba and were trying to enter India to carry out subversive activities.

When asked about Younis, Abdullah and Muzaffar, Shamir said during test, "I was assigned to take them to the militant camps in Kashmir for their training. But they were not involved in the blast. Those who were involved in the blast sneaked to India through Indo-Bangladesh border few weeks before the blast. I helped them in crossing the border."

Shamir during narco-analysis tests admitted that he went to Pakistan several times and had undergone training in a militant camp in Muzzafarbad in Pakistan. "I was asked to assist Lashkar-e-Toiba militants to carry out the train blast in Mumbai," Shamir confessed during the test.

Investigation revealed that they obtained Pakistani passports from Karachi after which they travelled to Dhaka. On reaching Dhaka, they had boarded a bus to the Indo-Bangla border at Benapol.

Shamir along with three of his associates got in touch with local touts at the border to help them sneak past the border at Petrapol in groups of two. Then the BSF officers seized three fake identity cards of a Kanpur-based University and a mobile phone without SIM card.

On Sunday Shamir and Muzaffar were produced at Bongaon court from where they were taken to Mumbai by the officers of Mumbai Anti Terrorists Section (ATS) on transit remand.

DIG, CID, Rajiv Kumar said, "Younis and Abdullah are in judicial custody. Arrests of Shamir and Muzaffar proved to be vital for us. We are hopeful that we will be able to get more details about the people involved in the train blast."

First Published: Apr 23, 2007 01:48 IST