Pakistan's ISI involved in Mumbai train blasts, say police

Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa
Published: Saturday September 30, 2006

New Delhi- Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency planned the July 11 serial blasts in Mumbai and it was carried out by operatives of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) militant group and members of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), police said Saturday. New Delhi city police commissioner A N Roy said investigations into the serial bombings on trains that left 167 dead and more than 700 injured in Mumbai, India's commercial hub, had been completed.

"We have solved the July 11 bombings case. The whole attack was planned by Pakistan's ISI and carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and their operatives in India," Roy said.

"It was a professional, precise and well-planned operation," he added.

Roy said plotting for the attack began in March and so far 15 people had been arrested.

The role of 12 people in the terror attack had been established, while that of three was not clear and they may be released after further investigations.

LET operatives based in Mumbai and other places in India were involved in planning the attack, Roy said.

Eleven Pakistani nationals took part in planting the bombs along with seven Indians on the trains, he said.

The Pakistani operatives were escorted to Mumbai by Indian accomplices in three separate groups. They entered India across the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan bordering India's Gujarat state.

One of the Pakistanis had brought with him 20 kilograms of RDX which was mixed with locally procured ammonium nitrate to make the bombs. The bombs were made in a Mumbai locality and packed in brand new 5-litre pressure cookers with quartz timers.

Each of the seven bombs were planted in first-class compartments of different trains by a group of two men, one Pakistani and one Indian.

The cookers were kept on the luggage racks with newspapers and umbrellas covering them.

The bombers boarded the different trains at Mumbai's Churchgate station. All the operatives except one man, a Pakistani, managed to get off the trains before the blasts took place.

"We have identified the dead man as Saleem, resident of Lahore," Roy said.

"We have arrested four Indian operatives. One Pakistani known as Mohammed Ali alias Abu Osama was killed in an encounter. The search for the rest of the three other Indians and the other Pakistanis is on," Roy said.

He said the Pakistani operatives may have gone back across the border.

Roy said the police had identified all persons involved in the plot, but would not reveal the names of those who were yet to be arrested.

He said all the Indian operatives, some of whom were members of "sleeper cells" of the LET in Indian cities and others of the SIMI had received training in LET camps in Pakistan.

"Some of them went twice or thrice for training," Roy said. Most were trained by a senior LET commander Azam Cheema in his camp in Bhawalpur district of Pakistan, he said.

"They received hard-core training including how to handle interrogation," Roy said. He cited this as a reason why it took the police more than two months to crack the case.

He said the three key Indians involved in the plot were Faizal Sheikh, an area commander of the LET, Ehtesan Siddique, a senior SIMI officeholder, and Kamaluddin Ansari. All three have been arrested.

Roy said Sheikh had received large consignments of funds through a Rizwan Devra, an ISI operative based in Saudi Arabia for organizing the attack.

Soon after the blasts, Indian agencies had pointed a finger at the LET and Pakistan's involvement. Islamabad had denied the charges and had asked for evidence and also said it was willing to cooperate in investigations.

Analysts said the Mumbai police's claims are certain to impact the joint anti-terror mechanism agreed on by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during a recent meeting in Cuba.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa