An interesting thing witnessed following the Varanasi blast that occurred yesterday was that the mail that was sent by the Indian Mujahideen was once again sent out from Mumbai. Even as the Mumbai ATS orders a parallel probe into this aspect.
The question now is whether there still exists a strong technical cell of the IM and also whether operatives of the IM continues to use servers in Mumbai and bounce their mails from other places.
Before getting into these aspects let us take a look at previous instances in which the Indian Mujahideen has used systems in Mumbai to send out mails before and after terror attacks.
In the month of July 2008, the Indian Mujahideen sent a mail ahead of the Ahmedabad blasts which was traced to a flat in Navi Mumbai.
Another mail speaking about the probe into the Ahmedabad blasts was sent out on August 2008 and the same was traced to Khalsa College in Matunga.
A month later in the same year a mail of the IM following the Delhi blasts was traced to Chembur.
The mail sent after the Jama Masjid firing was traced yet again to Mumbai.
The mail sent after the Varanasi blast was traced to Malad in Mumbai.
Indian intelligence agencies point out that this is an interesting trend to see the mails being sent out from Mumbai after all major attacks on Indian soil. Initially mails were being sent out from Mumbai since the Indian Mujahideen had basically set up its tech module in Mumbai under the leadership of Mansoor Pheerbhoy who was later arrested by the Mumbai police. Today they continue to use servers in Mumbai to send mails with the sole intention of playing hide and seek with the Mumbai police who according to them were the primary force to decimate their organization.
Look back at the mail that the IM sent in the aftermath of the Jama Masjid attack. It clearly takes a dig at the Mumbai police and Rakesh Maria in particular. The mail goes on to say that the Mumbai police need not feel happy that they had broken their organization and the core strength of the IM was still existent and was capable of striking at any time. The IB points out that the mail was more of a challenge to the police which gave the message, “ catch us if you can.”
When the IM started off it decided to set up a technical cell since it was aware that the Indian police were light years behind when it came to cracking technology. They were aware that if they sent out mails after every attack, the initial part of the investigation would be disturbed since the police would try and chase the mails sent out by them and in the meantime the real operatives could give the slip.
This task was assigned to Abdul Subhan and Mansoor Peerbhoy. The first idea deviced by them was to set up the cell and also use wifi networks that were not secure. However the idea was never to sit in a particular city and send out emails. Mansoor managed to impart knowledge on a lot of cadres on how to hack a wifi network from anywhere in the country using the IP address and bounce mails out of that server.
The IB says that these skills are known to a lot of people in the IM including the low ranking cadres. While during the initial part of their operations they sent out mails from Mumbai, today they are able to send mails using servers in Mumbai from other cities.<
Sending mails from servers in Mumbai does not necessarily indicate that their tech cell exists in the strength that it used to. This is just a challenge to the Mumbai police which was responsible for cracking down on this cell in the first place.
In addition to Mumbai, the IM had also set up a technical cell in Thane. This was infact revealed by a person by the name Abdul Bashir who was arrested in connection with the Gujarat blasts. This particular cell was headed by a person by the name Toufiq Bilal. The IB says that they would need to look into the working of this cell too since it was not active at the time of Operation Bangalore Ahmedabad Delhi, but could have well revamped now and is sending out the mails.