The mystery of Sajid Mir is something that agencies from across the world have not been able to crack properly as yet. However with the interrogation of Abu Jundal also known as Zabiuddin Ansari there appears to be somewhat a clear picture of this man who Indian agencies are so desperately in the look out for.
Sajid Mir is probably one of the most guarded figures in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. According to the Indian and also western intelligence he is the one who holds the key to the Lashkar’s international operations.
Police officials involved in the interrogation of Jundal say that they have shown the photograph of Mir to him and he has been able to confirm the presence of this man in the control room which staged the 26/11 attack. Jundal says that Mir had travelled to India prior to the attacks and had checked out some of the targets that were finally attacked. Now Indian agencies say that he is the one who first came to India and did a survey of various targets before handing over the task to David Headley. Mir had come down to India as a cricket fan, a story that has been reported earlier and under this pretext he dished out crucial information for the 26/11 attack.
There was a claim that Mir could be an officer in the ISI. However going by the year and date that he joined the Lashkar it became highly impossible that he could be an officer. However Jundal clarifies that Mir was a crucial operator and was working as an assistant to Abdur Rehman Makki. Jundal also tells his interrogators that Makki, a senior commander is closely related to Hafiz Saeed.
Jundal says that they did not get to see much of Mir and he is always guarded by heavy security. They did not come face to face much during the planning and the role of Mir was restricted to handling the logistics prior to the attack on 26/11. He however confirmed the presence of Mir in the dreaded control room. He was there to give directions as we was well aware of the targets and he did oversee the initial part of the operation when the terrorists were taking pong position at the respective targets allocated to them, Jundal also says.
Although Jundal does not reveal too much on David Headley, the statements made by him while corroborated by the agencies go on to show that Mir was the one who was guiding Headley all through the operation. Sources point out that the camera, the gps tracking device and also the funding to David Headley was provided by Mir himself. They wanted to ensure that Mir an expert with logistics handled Headley. Moreover Mir has always been a mystery figure and there was really not much information on him and this ensured that the entire Headley operation remained a low key affair.
Sources in the National Investigating Agency however say that the information on Mir is not something very new. It does help us build our case in which we have named Mir. However the fact that Jundal confirms the presence of this man during the attack is a leap forward since Pakistan has always claimed the non-existence of this man.
Indian agencies will have to however dig harder and much more before they can put up a strong case against Mir. In the days to come they will have to revisit the statements of David Headley and seek some international help in order to corroborate the evidence based on what they have got from Jundal.
The other mystery that the Indians are close to cracking is that of Major Samir Ali and Major Iqbal. Based on the confessions by Headley about the involvement of the two majors, Jundal too was asked about them. He does not confirm the names, but does say that there were two persons in the control room who were often referred to as Major General Sahib. There are no photographs available with the Indian agencies to put before Jundal in order to prove this theory of the presence of Majors. However we will have to deal with the statements and put the evidence together in order to come a proper conclusion on these officers, the investigators also point out.
Based on the recorded conversations that is available with India, they have managed to solve a couple of more mysteries. There is a constant use of the word of Major General during the entire operation and Jundal confirms that there were two officers present. The alias for Zarar Shah however did not change and he was always referred to as Zarar by the persons in the control room. Buzurg was another word that was often used and this according to Jundal was Hafiz Saeed.
Jundal says that during the operation Zarar Shah played a vital role in the communications. He is an expert with technology and he oversaw the entire unit in the control room. All through the dry runs leading up to the setting up of the control room he was very much present. He was the one who set up the voice over internet protocol unit which were four in number. In addition to this there were televisions tuned into the Indian channels through which we picked up a lot of information. There were also units which controlled the sattelite phones he also told the police. He also says that when the attack took place the first intention was to cause a diversion. The mail claiming that the attack was the handiwork of the Deccan Mujahideen was also sent from the very same control room by bouncing it off another server he added.
Jundal however says that during the entire operation it was very important that during the initial part they confused the Indian agencies. We did realize that the random firing that took place on the streets was very important so that the rest of the gun men took position in the rest of the targets. For us that was the most important part of the operation as the intention was to send out a loud and clear message to the Indian establishment and this was possible only by dragging out the attack with hostages on hand.