The D-gang and terror groups nexus


The year 1993 saw one of the most horrific bombings in Mumbai in which over 250 persons lost their lives. It was for the first time that India saw the merger of the underworld and terrorist outfits to carry out an attack in which scores of innocent people were killed. Two decades have passed and the main operatives of the incident continue to remain elusive.

The Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad two days back made two important arrests — Abdul Latif and Riyaz Ali. The ATS had claimed that the duo was planning on carrying out three blasts, one at the ONGC and the other two at a mall and a market.

While their current operation is under the scanner, an interesting fact that has come to light are the phone calls made to Karachi by Abdul Latif. Investigations now show that the calls were being made a man by the name Bashir Khan, one of the men wanted in the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993.

Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com that it is now clear that Khan is the uncle of Latif and the duo had stayed in touch with each other while planning the current operation.

It is a clear sign that the underworld, which operated out of Mumbai and is now in Pakistan, were planning on targeting key Indian cities, especially Mumbai.

Interrogation of Latif has revealed that Bashir Khan, a key aide of the Dawood Ibrahim gang reporting to another accused in the serial blasts — Razak Memon — is based out of Karachi and was planning on targeting India at the behest of the Inter Services Intelligence.

Latif during his interrogation has revealed that Khan is his uncle and it was at his behest that this operation was being carried out. He further said that Khan had also recruited Ali for the same task. Latif incidentally is married to Ali’s sister.

Bashir Khan, according to the IB sources, was a major arms smuggler in the D-gang. Following the 1993 blasts, he slipped into Pakistan and has been absconding since then. Born in the year 1962 in Mumbai, Khan had joined the D-gang in the year 1984.

He was sent to Pakistan in 1989 where he was trained in smuggling of arms and explosives. It were these skills that made the D-gang choose him to smuggle in the arms for the serial blasts of 1993.

Khan was part of the planning and the execution of the 1993 blasts since day one. Not only did he take care of bringing in the consignment, he also helped arrange the foot soldiers for this attack. A couple of days before the blasts took place, he moved in Pakistan and has been operating out of there ever since, the IB sources point out.

The duo that has been arrested had said that they were carrying out these attacks to avenge the Gujarat riots.

However, the IB sources note that this was just an excuse and the reasons were entirely different in nature. Both these men have relatives in Gujarat, who claim that they were affected by the violence.

While this could have been the primary reason for their recruitment, the real reasons are completely different, the IB sources feel.

The ISI has been pressurising the D-gang to carry out an elaborate operation in Mumbai for quite some time now. While the attack at the ONGC was planned with a view of gaining maximum attention, the attack planned at a shopping mall was only to avenge personal rivalry.

It is said that Ali had an affair with the daughter of his former employee at the mall and he had even tried to elope with her. However, he was handed over to the police and this could be one of the reasons for carrying out a blast in that place.

Regarding the blasts at the Mangal Das market, IB sources say that this is a crowded area and security is not too tight and hence they had planned on attacking this place.

The IB sources point out that these men were just foot soldiers and there is no indication that they were in the higher rung of the terror network. They were not involved in recruitment directly and constantly reported to Bashir Khan, who took care of the entire operation from Pakistan.

It would be fair to say that they were just assigned the job of conducting a recee and also providing information to Khan, who in turn would have organised men to go about planting the bombs along with these two persons.

However, most importantly these men hold the key to the exact whereabouts of Khan. The cops would also be looking to find and bust the network that Dawood still continues to have in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

This would also help in finding out the routes that the D-gang uses to smuggle in arms and ammunition into the country which are being used for terror attacks, the IB sources note.

Photograph courtsey: Central Bureau of Investigation

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Spotlight back on IM network

A year-and-half ago, security agencies picked up several key Indian Mujahideen operatives like Safdar Nagori, Mansoor Pherrbhoy and several others. These arrests crippled the Indian Mujahideen and it appeared that the network of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba sponsored outfit had been busted.

However, following the Pune blasts, one fact came to light and that was the IM was rearing to go and they still have a strong presence across the country. This year there have been four crucial arrests and each of these persons have critical information on the IM network.

Shehzad, Chotu (name changed), Abdul Lateef and Riyaz Ali, are the four who are in police custody for their alleged links with the Indian Mujahideen. While the Delhi police continue to interrogate Shehzad and Chotu, the other two persons are being probed by the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad.

Sources told rediff.com that Shehzad and Chotu are key personalities in the IM and the information that they have been revealing has been of high value.

Regarding Lateef and Ali, the information that has been coming out is not concrete so far, but the interrogation of the duo is on.

These two both are vegetable vendors– have been accused of plotting strikes in Mumbai. Intelligence sources, however, point out that they are yet to verify all this information while the ATS says that interrogation is still on. It is too early to comment on their role in the alleged Karachi plot as is being reported in a section of the media.

Shehzad: This youth from Azamgarh was the first to be picked up this year. Shehzad’s arrest sparked off protests in Azamgarh, which Indian security agencies describe as the nursery of terror. Shehzad was picked up for his role in the Delhi blast and subsequent Batla House encounter.

Sources in Delhi police say that not much information has been derived from him about the Pune blasts, in particular, but he has given a lot of information relating the IM and its operations in India.

During the interrogation, Shehzad said they were planning to carry out strikes in Delhi and were regrouping for the same. He told his interrogators that the arrests which were conducted last year had broken the IM a great deal and they were finding hard to go about their operations.

An interrogator says that the most important revelation by Shehzad was pertaining to the control of the IM. At first, it was meant to be controlled and operated out of India. However, following the arrests, two main operatives, Abdul Subhan and Riyaz Shahbandri Bhatkal, had to slip into Pakistan. Shehzad who escaped from Delhi following the Batla encounter went to Nepal and then to Pakistan.

Over there, he managed to meet Bhatkal and the IM chief Amir Raza Khan. Over there he was given a specific brief to regroup the outfit and also get in touch with Chotu.

The IM, he says, was instructed by the Lashkar to start operations again. But, investigators say that the interesting part was that the IM bosses wanted the outfit controlled entirely from Pakistan instead of India. The reason was that the top planners were in hiding at Pakistan and they thought that their constant guidance and monitoring was required.

Shehzad stated their modules were strongest in Pune and the Uttar Pradesh, but added that they were working on some key changes to shift their base out of these areas since the heat on their modules in these areas was on the rise.

Chotu: There is a debate on the veracity of his age. When the Delhi police picked him up, they said he is 21, but a petition before the juvenile court filed by the Jamia Teachers Association suggests that he is below 18 and hence should be tried as a juvenile.

Chotu, like Shehzad, hails from Azamgarh. He is the youngest recruiter for the IM till date. He had joined the Students Islamic Movement of India before gradually moving into the Safdar Nagori faction. Later when the IM was formed, he joined this outfit.

During his interrogation, Chotu revealed that his role was largely restricted to recruitments. He says that the IM had made an impact in the country due to its technological advancements and the newer recruits they were looking for had to be tech savvy.

He further adds that the IM had realised that the best way to beat Indian security agencies was through the use of technology and hence they were looking for cadres who specialised in technology. He further goes on to say that the pressure to recruit quality cadres was high since they had lost a lot of their operatives, who were arrested last year.

He further stated during his interrogation that the IM was planning a spectacular attack and they were even exploring the possibility of aerial type attacks. Some of the cadres had obtained training in flying schools, he also added.

The IB says that the most important disclosure that was made by Chotu is that the IM was planning on shifting its entire base to South India. They were planning on winding up most of their modules in Uttar Pradesh and Pune and were exploring the possibility of making both Karnataka and Kerala as their main bases. They felt that the heat factor in these two states was much less when compared to Pune and UP and they would be able to recruit cadres easily.

Abdul Lateef and Riyaz Ali: These two men are the latest to be in the police net. When these two vegetable vendors were picked up, the police said that they had with them maps and sketches aimed at causing mayhem in Mumbai.

It was also alleged that they were agents of the ISI and were part of the Karachi plot which is being jointly planned by the ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. It is also alleged that they had plans to attack ONGC installations in and around Mumbai.

ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi said Latif is a resident of Bandra while Ali is from Dahisar. He said that the men are being interrogated and added that preliminary investigations suggests that they planned to target a mall at Borivili (a northern suburb), ONGC installations and Mangaldas market.

India is LeT’s fav target: Stephen


On November 26, 2008, ten terrorists recruited and trained by Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba gunned down 166 innocent civilians in Mumbai.

Intelligence agencies believe that the LeT also played a role in staging the terror strike in Pune on February 13, which killed 17 people, including two foreigners.

In his book Lashkar-e-Taiba, From 9/11 to Mumbai, author Stephen Tankel, visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a PhD Candidate of the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London, points out that the 60-hour terror siege on Mumbai had catapulted the LeT to international notoriety.

In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Tankel warns that though LeT’s terror network is spreading beyond South Asia, India continues to remain its favourite target.

Post the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, what changes do you notice in the pattern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba? Has it become stronger or has the Pakistan government initiated action to weaken the outfit?

The LeT is clearly still capable of operating, as is evidenced by its alleged involvement in the attempted attacks in Denmark and Bangladesh, as well as those in India. The target set — including Western and Indian interests — and the scale of these attempted attacks suggest that the group has been emboldened by the success of the Mumbai attacks.

Some LeT members have also suggested that the group benefited in terms of recruitment as well as fundraising, following the Mumbai attacks, and it is clear that the Lashkar did not pay a particularly high cost at home. That is not to suggest that there were no consequences, but these were minimal, compared to the scale and impact of the Mumbai attacks.

Is the Lashkar a cause of worry only for India and Kashmir, or is it a threat to the rest of the world?

I view the LeT as a threat beyond the South Asian region, though I would suggest that the biggest threat from LeT remains to India. My sense is that any previous assumptions by the West, that the LeT was a purely parochial actor that posed no threat to countries outside South Asia, evaporated in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. And the more we learn about the group’s transnational reach, the more cause there is for concern.

This does not mean that the LeT is going to start launching attacks all over the world tomorrow. It primarily uses transnational operatives for support purposes. However, the existence of its transnational networks, which span several continents, means that the capabilities exist for them to be used to execute or support attacks in a number of countries. And it is not as if they have never been used for this purpose — Lashkar’s transnational operatives have been involved in attacks in Western countries since 9/11.

What steps do you think the Lashkar is taking to wage global jihad?

The LeT is still not doing as much as it could to wage a global jihad, but it is doing more than it used to do. It opened a front in Afghanistan, it is including Western interests in its target set in South Asia and its operatives have been involved in attacks in Western countries. It collaborates with the Al Qaeda in Pakistan and serves as a gateway for reaching Al Qaeda as well as other affiliated groups interested in the global jihadi agenda.

Does the Lashkar still continue to fund operations in Iraq?

I’ve heard competing claims about this and could not say with any degree of certainty.

Could you tell us about the Lashkar’s global programme? How dangerous is the outfit today for the world?

Lashkar began as a transnational actor — its militants fought in places like Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tajikistan. So it has always had a pan-Islamic agenda. Its leaders continue to prioritise the jihad against India, and I do not foresee the group forsaking this fight.

But neither liberating Kashmir nor destroying India was ever the apotheosis of the group’s rationale for jihad. For LeT, the road to reestablishing the Caliphate still runs through South Asia, but it does not end there. The group has been, and continues to be, involved in violence directed against countries outside South Asia. This appears to be increasing and, as I said, its transnational reach means we need to take this apparent expansion seriously.

What is the Lashkar worth today in terms of funds and what are their primary sources of funds?

Estimating its net worth is difficult, but it is almost certainly the richest Pakistani militant group. Historically, much of its money has been raised locally — from monetary donations, tuition for its schools, the sale of propaganda, the sale of hides donated for Eid and other business ventures. It also raises significant amounts of money from the Gulf and large sums from the United Kingdom as well as other European countries.

What suggestions do you have for the Indian government to deal with the Lashkar threat?

I think it’s important to accept that getting Pakistan to dismantle Lashkar is going to be a slow process, as well as a potentially messy one. One of the things the government in Delhi will need to decide is whether it is more interested in pursuing peace or justice. As is often the case with demobilising militant groups and ending conflicts, it can be difficult to achieve both.

I hope I’m wrong, but the ground does not appear fertile for fruitful negotiations of the sort that could lead to begin the process of dismantling Lashkar. So in the short term, we’re probably talking more about how to protect against the threats from LeT violence and reduce the group’s lethal capabilities. Obviously, increasing India’s capabilities in terms of homeland security and counter-terrorism are important components.

Working to dismantle Lashkar’s international networks is clearly important too. These networks not only threaten the West, they also enable Lashkar to execute and support attacks against India. Money and recruits used to support or execute attacks in India come not only from South Asia, but also from countries in the West and the Gulf.

The LeT also uses countries in the Gulf as a logistical hub. So a sustained focus on intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation with other countries in these regions to take these networks apart should be a top priority. This would enable progress to be made against the group, in the absence of Pakistan’s unwillingness to take action on its own.

How dangerous or important is Ilyas Kashmiri to the rest of the world? Should his threats to international players planning to compete in the Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games be taken seriously?

Kashmiri is the operational commander of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, which has been involved in a number of terrorist attacks against India, often through its Bangladeshi branch HuJI-B. He is also very close to the Al Qaeda. In short, Kashmiri is clearly a dangerous actor.

That said, while I don’t think it is wise to dismiss terrorist threats, I also think it is unwise to let them dictate policy. Rigorous counter-measures should be taken to protect those who choose to compete in the Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games, but I would think that, in the absence of clear evidence of an impending attack that Indian security services believe they cannot disrupt, the games should go on.

Is the Pakistan government dealing honestly with the Lashkar? If the US is serious about its war on terror, why do you think they are not exerting more pressure on Pakistan to wipe out terrorism from its soil?

It is well established that Pakistan could do a lot more than it is doing to dismantle Lashkar, though I do think it is important to distinguish the civilian government from the army and the ISI. My sense is that the US is exerting pressure on Pakistan, but of course there are limits to what that pressure can accomplish.

Clearly, the US has had more success getting Pakistan to move against some groups than others. Not surprisingly, Pakistan has moved more swiftly and powerfully against those groups that provide less perceived utility in terms of its national interests and are viewed as a greater threat to the state. It’s also probably fair to say that the US perceives dealing with some groups in Pakistan as higher priorities than others, though I do believe that dealing with Lashkar has become a higher priority in recent years, especially since the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

We are ready to sacrifice everything for T state


The Osmania University in Hyderabad, which has been the steadiest platform for the ongoing Telangana movement, is on the boil yet again. A student committed suicide on Tuesday by hanging himself leaving behind a suicide note in which he had written that he was traumatised by the lack of will on part of the politicians in granting a separate Telangana state.
The students have played the most crucial part in this movement so far. The movement by these students has been led from the historic Osmania University campus.

M Agamani has been in the thick of the action all along. A first year student in MA, Hindi, she is the leader of the Osmania University Joint Action Committee, and says that things on the campus are getting depressing, but that won’t act as a deterrent to stop their fight.

In this interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, she discusses the steps that they have taken to stop students from killing themselves, and also how they are planning on setting up a ‘Maha JAC’ to continue this fight.

Is it true that so far 250 students have committed suicide in connection with the ongoing Telangana movement?

Yes it is.

Are these real statistics or being said for the heck of it to create an impact?
We don’t believe in furthering our struggle based on death statistics. This is the information we have, and believe me, I don’t wish that the death toll was this high.

In a recent interview with your students’ JAC leader, Dr Prithviraj, I had posed a similar question as to what steps are you taking to control these suicides. He had said that they are creating awareness. This has clearly not helped. What do you have to say?

It is our duty to keep trying. We are creating awareness programmes everyday. We make it a point to conduct rallies everyday and keep telling the students that there is no point in committing suicide and our duty is to continue with the struggle. Despite all this, it is happening. You cannot deny the fact that the issue is very genuine and people are emotional about this. They feel betrayed by the leaders whom they had trusted a lot.

Politicians are expected to behave this way. Why are you getting emotive?

What can we do? They are the ones who have to take forward this movement and bring about a logical end to it. The student had trusted their promises, and when one feels betrayed, they are expected to behave in a manner such as this.

Today we know for a fact that the politicians are not serious about the movement, and they are just dancing according to the wishes of the Centre. They hold all party meetings just for the heck of it, and all this is just eyewash.

But suicides are an act of cowardice. Don’t you agree with that?

I agree it is not the right thing to do. However, let us not make light of the lives that have been lost. Our motto has always been, ‘We will die fighting, but not kill ourselves.’ We are doing our best to prevent suicides.

Has the alleged police atrocity stopped?

There is no pressure from the police at the moment. Even today what the police wanted was a letter from us stating that none of us will resort to violence when we take the body on a procession. We had no objection, and have already given that in writing. We will take the body out on a procession peacefully.

Do you have any realisation that this struggle is almost saying ‘good bye’ to your education? How much are all of you able to concentrate on that?

We are fully aware of our responsibilities. We have been attending classes and will continue to do so. Everyone in the college has been supportive and sympathetic about our cause. However, there is one thing I would like to ask you. What is the use in appearing for the examination? Are there any jobs for us?

But there are students who want to study. There are students of the science wing who need to study bit harder, and also there are those from the non-Telangana region who feel intimidated to come to college.

The science students are very much part of our protest. We are all ready to sacrifice everything it takes for a separate state. The non-Telangana students understand our problems and I don’t know if you will believe it, but they have taken part in most of our rallies. We do nothing to disrupt their classes.

What next?

We are looking to form a ‘Maha JAC,’ which will not have any bifurcations. It will be one common platform that will have the people from all walks of life in it. This is not just a student movement. We want active participation of the farmers and all other people who are affected due to this non-seperation.

What I want to say here is that this movement will not die down no matter what. We will achieve what we have started off, and will take it to the logical end.

Was the IM regrouping?


The terror jigsaw is becoming clearer with the arrest of Salman, an operative of the dreaded Indian Mujahideen. He has echoed the statements of the security agencies who said the IM benefited the most from the heat that was on the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Salman, being interrogated by various agencies, told the police that the IM had planned to “come back with a bang. He said they were plotting to undertake more attacks in India, but had slowed down in their process for the want of manpower.

A core team of the Indian Mujahideen had been arrested last year following a series of blasts that rocked the country. Sources told rediff.com Salman is being questioned about the Pune blasts and also on where all the recruiting of new cadres is taking place.

During his interrogation, Salman further went on to state that he had joined the IM in 2005. At that point of time the outfit was just being built and none of the Indian agencies had a clue about the outfit.

He says the SIMI had split into two factions, the moderate and the non-moderate one which was headed by Safdar Nagori. He also said that the IM had branched out of the Nagori faction of the SIMI.

The Intelligence Bureau says Salman is a big catch. He knows a lot of the inside working of the IM and he has been playing an active part in its activities. His name had first cropped up during the Batla House encounter. He had, however, managed to give the police the slip along with his other accomplice, Shahzad who too is in the custody of the Delhi police.

Salman was barely 16 when he joined the IM. Given his age, he was nicknamed Chotu and he has been a trusted aide of the outfit. He was in the know of all the serial blasts, but is alleged to have played a major role in the Delhi blasts.

He says during his interrogation that everything was going well for the IM until the arrests the previous year. The IM had used technology to the maximum with its IT module and in the years to come was planning on more spectacular attacks. He said that the shortage of manpower became a problem and they were finding it hard to get dedicated people. However in the past 6 months, the IM had gone on a spree recruiting cadres.

Speaking of his role in the Delhi blasts, Salman said he had fled first to Uttar Pradesh and then slipped into Nepal. During this period he had also visited Pakistan and other countries in the UAE.

It was in Pakistan that he met up with the IM leadership including Riyaz Bhatkal and Amir Reza Khan. During that meeting he was specifically told to focus more on recruiting youth since the IM modules needed to be rebuilt as it had to completely replace Pakistan based groups for India based operations.

IM Used Heat on Lashkar to Grow


The Pune blast on February 13 was a rude wake-up call for Indian security agencies, which had relapsed into thinking that the menace of terrorism had subsided following the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.

Almost minutes after the Pune blast, it was confirmed that the Indian terror outfit Indian Mujahiden had undertaken the operation.

However, the rise and growing power of the IM has surprised the security agencies — the terror outfit has survived and grown despite the recent stringent crackdowns in the last one-and-half years.

A team of Intelligence Bureau sleuths, who worked in tandem with their state counterparts, gathered information about the modules of the IM in various states.

Intelligence agencies have noticed a strange pattern in the IM operations: Even as the security agencies targeted the network of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba post-26/11 attacks, the IM got into an alliance with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami to expand its network.

Many cadres of the HuJI are not only working in tandem with the IM, but are also helping IM to set up a base in India again.

The IM has managed to keep Maharashtra as its preferred hub for terror activities, sources said, despite the crackdown and intelligence post-26/11 attacks.

And over the years as the security agencies loosened their grip on the IM, it helped the terror outfit develop its network further, said sources.

Sources probing the Pune blast told rediff.com that the alliance with the HuJI has helped IM in a large way.

“Despite the heat being on the Maharashtra network, it did not deter the IM terrorists from going ahead with their plans,” sources said.

According to Intelligence Bureau officials, terror groups will never loosen their hold from Maharashtra — as most terror cadres hail from this state and the network set up by the Dawood Ibrahim gang only makes their jobs easier.

A Dawood aide, Hamza, who had been picked by the police recently, had confessed that the D-gang network mainly helped terror outfits like IM and HuJI to set up local terror modules and also to import arms and ammunition.

To reign in the IM is no easy task, as a couple of key IM operatives continue to be on the loose. While the Bhatkal brothers continue to monitor the situation from across the border, key IM members such as Mohsin Chaudhary, Yasin and Mudasar, Mohammad Khalid, Mohammad Sajid, Ariz Khan and also Asadullah Akthar, who are out in the open and continue to carry out their operations.

While the modules in Maharashtra were being set up unabated, the focus was on Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala , Andhra Pradesh and also Karnataka, Hamza had revealed.

Sources pointed out that Gujarat had the least number of terror modules, as the Gujarat police has been most regular and strict with crackdowns compared to other states.

Even though the network in Gujarat was busted to a large extent, the IM continued to tell its cadres that Gujarat would continue to be high on their radar.

An intercept picked up by intelligence agencies between IM activists suggests that Amir Raza Khan, the commander of IM, had instructed his men to move cadres out of Gujarat and relocate them to Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. These cadres will be reportedly brought back to Gujarat in case of an ‘operation’.

Madhya Pradesh is also growing to be another terror hub. Intelligence sources said the IM has raised a number of modules in MP in the past one year, with the help of the local network of the Students Islamic Movement of India, before it was banned.

Also, IM networks in MP and UP are now working in tandem and are trying to restart the training centres in these states again. The SIMI had held its biggest training camp at Choral in MP, before it was busted by the police.

Kerala and Karnataka continue to be cadre hunting grounds for the IM, which has been taking advantage of the communal tension in the coastal belts of the states.

IM recruiters have managed to recruit at least 300 youngsters from Mangalore and Kerala’s costal areas in the past one year.

Tiger Hanif can key to Dawood-LeT network


The British police made an extremely important arrest on Wednesday. Hanif alias Tiger alias Tiger Hanif, wanted in the 1993 Surat bombing case was picked by the British police on behalf of the Indian authorities at Bolton in north-western England.

India investigating and intelligence agencies say Tiger Hanif, who faces extradition to India, managed to give them the slip for 17 years, is riding on a whole load of information pertaining to the Dawood Ibrahim-Lashkar-e-Tayiba network.

An Interpol alert was sounded against Tiger Hanif three years back. The Gujarati-speaking Indian national was born on October 20, 1960. Prior to his disappearance, there were various cases against him, the main ones being related to terrorism. A warrant had been issued against him by the Gujarat police.

In 1993, Hanif along with three others had hurled a Russian-made grenade at the Gujarat Express at the Surat railway station killing one person and injured 38. Following the blasts, he took the usual route out of India and landed in Pakistan. From there he managed to escape to the United Kingdom where he remained undercover as a grocery store worker.

Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com that before turning into a terrorist, Tiger was a member of the Dawood gang. His association with Dawood goes back to the days when the Karachi-based don was living in Mumbai. Tiger took care of the Gujarat operations of the Dawood gang. Gujarat has always been the most preferred route to smuggle drugs and ammunition from Pakistan and Tiger looked after that operation.

However in the 1990s, there was a change in the pattern in which the D-gang operated. They received an ultimatum from the Inter Services Intelligence that they would be allowed to smuggle drugs in and out of Pakistan and Afghanistan if they contributed to their terror projects against India. It was in 1993 that the D-Gang helped carried out the serial blasts in Mumbai which announced the gang’s arrival into the terrorism network. The same year, Tiger and three others carried out the Surat bombing.

The IB says that Tiger like his boss Dawood made the transition from the underworld to hardcore terrorism. Ever since Tiger left India, he has been working for the D-gang and this means he has done work for the Lashkar too.

Tiger’s extradition may shed light on the linkages between the D-gang and the Lashkar. He has a fair idea of the network since he has been in touch with some of the operatives based in India. Prima facie it does not appear that he had carried out any terror operations in the UK where he lived for so long. However, Indian agencies are also hoping that Hanif will help them bust the huge network that the D-Gang and the Lashkar have set up in Mumbai and Gujarat.

IB officials are also hoping for more information on Farook Surti and Gajnabi, who were with him during the Surat attack and are absconding till now. IB sources say Surti operates out of Dubai for the D-Gang and Gajnabi is a full-fledged operative of the Lashkar based out of Pakistan, primarily involved in transporting ammunition meant for terror activities in India.

Amir Raza Khan- Ordinary Man To Dreaded Terrorist


Amir Raza Khan was one of the people sought by India in the dossiers that were handed over to Pakistan during the recent foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi.

Officials in New Delhi and the Intelligence Bureau believe that Khan could be another Hafiz Saeed (Jamaat-ud Dawah chief and Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder) in the making.

Khan, who grew rapidly in stature in terror circles, had a major role to play in the setting up of the Indian Mujahideen.

Today as investigations into the German bakery blast in Pune progress, it has been revealed that Khan was very much at the centre of planning the operation, which was executed as part of the Karachi Plot formulated by the ISI, LeT and the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami.

Who is Amir Raza Khan?

The terrorist in him was brought out following the death of his brother, Asif Raza Khan — a gangster in Gujarat. Amir, who did odd jobs in Gujarat, swore to avenge Asif’s death and gathered a couple of like-minded men and set up the Asif Raza Commando Force.

The group sought to target police personnel in Gujarat. In the years that followed, they came under the Lashkar radar. It was around the same time that Amir had a chance meeting with Riyaz Bhatkal (founder of the Indian Mujahideen). The duo decided to set up a strong force to carry out terrorist operations in India. Incidentally, the Lashkar too was looking for a dedicated Indian outfit following the ban on SIMI to carry out their operations. Hence, the Indian Mujahideen was born.

Once the IM was set up, Amir left for Pakistan to monitor the outfit’s operations from there while Bhatkal stayed back in India. He, eventually, became the blue-eyed-boy of jihadi outfits.

Prior to his escape into Pakistan, Amir moved base to Kolkata where he ran a visa agency, which, according to Bureau officials, was used to make fake passports and facilitate travel of (over 8000) cadres across the border.

The IB says that this agency helped propel the IM into a different league. His proximity to the bosses in the Lashkar helped him raise funds for the outfit and over the years they managed to make the IM a force to reckon with.

Today, it is essential to cut short Amir’s journey. The IB says that the ISI has roped in the senior IM members for the Karachi Plot. Investigation into the Pune blasts also clearly suggests that the execution of Karachi Plot had commenced and the entire planning involved Amir and Bhatkal.

Is the Lashkar Mightier Than the Qaeda?


Is it the Al-Qaeda or the Lashkar-e-Tayiba? Which of the two outfits is deadlier? Post 9/11, the Al-Qeda was considered to be the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world. However today, things have changed and it is official that the Lashkar is the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world.

Indian Intelligence agencies told rediff.com that this outfit was growing in terms of funds and manpower and today the Al-Qaeda is living of the Lashkar. The IB says that the ISI has played a major role in the growth of the Lashkar ever since the United States of America decided to wage a war against the Al-Qaeda.

The Lashkar was set up with an intention of fighting Indian forces in Kashmir. Their operation was largely restricted to Kashmir until the ISI instructed them to expand their tentacles and spread terror all over India. While over the years the terrorist outfit grew in leaps and bounds, it was the 26/11 attack at Mumbai which propelled this outfit into a different league. The IB says that in the past decade there have been at least 200000 persons who have trained under the Lashkar. However the Al-Qaeda does not even have half this number and this is a clear indication that the Lashkar is way ahead.

In terms of modules, technology, funds and manpower, the Lashkar is way ahead of the Al-Qaeda. The IB says that as of today, the Al-Qaeda has been pushed completely only in Afghanistan, but the Lashkar on the other hand has its modules world over. The alliances that the Lashkar has managed to get on its side is what has helped this outfit grow.

Apart from India and Paksitan, the Lashkar has set up modules in Kenya, Iraq, the Gulf countries, United States and United Kingdom, thus giving the indication that it is all set to launch global jihad. The Al-Qaeda on the other hand which had modules in all the above mentioned places has been pushed into Afghanistan alone. Today the Al-Qaeda operatives are fighting alongside the Taliban and their war is restricted to Afghanistan alone.

Experts point out that the Lashkar only appears to be growing from strength to strength. There are specific instructions from the ISI to the Lashkar that they ought to be waging global jihad and hence there is a complete change in the manner they have been carrying out their attacks. The future will see more attacks in which the Lashkar would target westerners, so that they are able to make their point to the rest of the world.

Experts also point out that the Al-Qaeda was a force to reckon with until it has the blessings of the ISI. However the moment the US waged a war against this outfit, the ISI dropped the outfit and focused more on the Lashkar. One of the most trusted cadres of the ISI, Ilyas Kashmiri who was with the Al-Qaeda too fell out with the ISI due to this change in pattern. He was asked to fight alongside the Lashkar in Kashmir, but he refused stating that his war was against America. However they have managed to rope him in once again and this has only strenghthened the Lashkar further.

Statistics available with the Indian IB would go on to indicate the threat perception of the Lashkar to a great extent. Following the Mumbai attack, they have changed their strategy and would now prefer the Indian bred jihadis to wage a war within the country. Zarar Shah one of the men arrested in connection with the Mumbai attack in Pakistan stated during his interrogation that they had 300 targets in mind. Interestingly none of these targets were in India. They included the US and UK and other parts of Europe. The arrest of David Headley is another indication to show how serious the Lashkar is about waging global jihad.

The IB says that the Lashkar is making desperate attempts to further its strenght world wide. The Lashkar has been targetting India alone all these years and it was the induction of Riazzuddin Nasir which changed the entire perception. He was picked up specifically to target the foreign tourists in Goa. The IB says that the outfit wanted to make a statement over there, but that plan fell flat following the arrest of Nasir. However they managed to bounce back quickly and carried out the Mumbai attack which gave them attention world over.

There is a dangerous precedent that has set in following the Mumbai attack. Over 20,000 sympathisers of the Al-Qaeda have shifted loyalties and today subscribe to the Lashkar. The IB says that the funding from the rich businessmen in the Gulf nations have now been diverted towards the Lashkar instead of the Al-Qaeda. However all this has not affected the relationship between the Al-Qaeda and the Lashkar. The two outfits continue to remain together, but it is just that the Lashkar has taken a lead role as of today.

In terms of technology too the Lashkar is way ahead of the Al-Qaeda. They have been using various techniques to wage a battle and sources say that they have the best of equipments as of today. Infact today, this is the only outfit which is capable of launching a biological attack and they have set up their labs for the purpose in Pakistan. The interesting aspect is that their cadres are in possession of every possible army training manual of the countries they face a threat from. When Nasir was picked up, some training manuals pertaining to the US marines were found on him. For instance they would have possession of a training manual of the Indian army so that they would be in a better position to fight them. Apart from this the Lashkar has been trying to get in its possession, unmanned aircrafts. There have been attempts by the ISI to ship it for the Lashkar, but there are no confirmed reports to suggest that they have managed to acquire the aircrafts. Off late there has also been movement of night vision glasses, bullet proof vests and wireless equipments and more sophisticated weaponary to Lashkar camps, the IB also points out. While these are pretty common equipments, the fact is that they have shipped it from the US, which is a clear indication of the reach the outfit has.

The IB says that the heat is definitely on the Lashkar. The US managed to dry up the funds for the Al-Qaeda, but with the Lashkar it is not all that easy. The interesting part is that despite the crackdowns on its fund raising activity, they continue to be carried on unabated thanks to the large chain of charity organisations this outfit runs. The Lashkar has over 700 charity organisations worldwide and this is the primary source of funds which unfortunately is being diverted towards spreading Global Jihad.

The who is who in the dossier to Pak


India on Thursday handed over three dossiers to Pakistan, dealing with three different aspects of terrorism being bred in Pakistan.

The first dossier deals exclusively with the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The second dossier is about Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of Al-Qaeda’s 313 brigade, while the third sought the handing over of the Khalistan militants and Indian Mujahideen cadres, sources told rediff.com.

In the first dossier, India sought the handing over of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed. Sources say that Hafiz could not figure in the earlier dossiers sent to Pakistan as agencies were gathering collective proof of his role in terrorism in India.

Moreover, the JuD’s role has come into the limelight following the mass meeting they held on Kashmir Solidarity Day, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where an open threat was made to target various Indian cities.

The same dossier also deals with American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, who has proven to be a major link in the 26/11 case.

Coupled with the proof handed over by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is interrogating Headley, the Indian dossier speaks in particular about two Pakistan Army officials, one of whom is retired.

The serving army official has been referred to as Major Iqbal. The name of this Major had cropped up during Headley’s interrogation when he admitted to reporting to a serving Pakistan Army Major. The Intelligence Bureau, who are also on this case, however, point out that the name Major Iqbal is fake since during such an operation the real name would never be given out.

This officer was a link between several foreign operatives and Pakistan-based terror groups. He played a major role in facilitating Headley’s travel and cross over into Pakistan with ease.

Another name is that of Major Samir Ali, a retired officer of the Pakistan Army. His name had cropped up both during the investigations into the Mumbai attack as well as the Headley case. He is believed to be associated with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

He had served with the Pakistan Army as well as the Inter Services Intelligence, and following his retirement, worked along with terror groups as a trainer. It is believed that he was part of the team, which imparted training to 26/11 gunmen. However, the IB believes that this too is a pseudo name used for the operation.

The other names that find mention are those of Zabiuddin, a resident of Beed, who had played an active role in the Mumbai attack. The dossier also seeks the handing over Abu Hamza, who imparted accent training to the gunmen.

The second dossier is all about Ilyas Kashmiri, India’s next headache. There is a lot of proof that has been built up against Kashmiri by the Indian agencies. His first ever statement came out following the news of his death in a drone attack. In a statement, he claimed that he had taken part in training the gunmen who attacked Mumbai.

He had stated that the entire operation was originally planned by the Al-Qaeda, but was hijacked by the Lashkar and the ISI. He had further threatened to launch Ghazb-e-Hind (Hate India), which involved carrying out deadlier attacks than the one in Mumbai.

Kashmiri’s name cropped up again during the interrogation of Headley, who had communicated with the former for future India-based operations. The latest communication from Headley was through an email sent to a Pakistan-based website in which he had warned to disrupt every event, which had international participation.

The third dossier was prepared initially with the names of the Khalistan-based militants. However, following the Pune blast, the names of several terrorists belonging to the Indian Mujahideen too were added.

While India tells Pakistan in the dossier to probe the role of the Indian Mujahideen operatives in connection with the Pune blast, it also lays emphasis on the role of the Khalistan militants in future operations.

Following the Mumbai attack, the initial dossier that was sent out had the names of several Khalistan militants. However, more names have been included in the dossier following the revelation that Khalistan-based groups in coordination with the Lashkar were readying themselves for a fresh attack in India.

While making a mention about the Khalistan-based militants, it also talks about the Karachi plot in which the Lashkar had roped in these Khalistan militants to carry out assassinations of various leaders. Jagtar Singh Hawara, Ranjeet Singh and Lakhvinder Singh are the three key persons who are part of the dossier.

The Indian Mujahideen aspect too is dealt with in the third dossier. Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Amir Raza are the three key persons who have been running the Indian Mujahideen from Pakistan.

India has proof to show that the Bhatkal brothers are holed up in the Defence Enclave in Karachi and are under the protection of the ISI. India says that the handing over of the Bhatkal brothers would be a great step towards cracking the IM code.

Amir Raza too is an important personality in the IM set up. Following the Pune blasts, his name has cropped up several times. Raza is a Pakistan national, who oversees IM’s operations from that country itself.