Don’t expect the NSG to “Manage”

The National Security Guards were the real heroes during the 26/11 attack as it was only after their entry into the scene were the terrorists neutralised. The first subject after the 26/11 operation that was discussed was broadening the NSG as it was largely believed that the future threats to India would be 26/11 styled and there is an urgent need to have more hubs in the country.

However after the great hype of making the NSG a stronger force today there appears to be a problem thanks a tussle between the Home Ministry and his cabinet colleagues over the revamp of the NSG. There are teething issues that are being found in this entire exercise and the big issue is that the expansion or the revamp of the NSG does not seem to be taking place on the scale that it should have been.

What one noticed during the 26/11 attack was that there was a delay in sending out the NSG and this was largely due to the delay in communication. The force had to be flown down from Delhi and it was alleged that there was no plane on stand by which delayed the operation further.

The government has a lot to blame for and the topic of having more hubs was a proposal made in the year 2007, exactly a year before the 26/11 attack. A blue print seeking more hubs was sent to the Home Ministry and it was shot down initially and the interest on the same topic grew only once the 26/11 attack had taken place.

J K Dutt, former Director General of the National Security Guards who led the operation on 26/11 says that the proposal to have more hubs of the NSG was sent by him in the year 2007 itself. Nothing really happened back then. In fact the then Home Secretary had also visited the NSG hub following which we had made a presentation. Nothing really happened after that.

The logic was a very simple one at that time. We did find the need to have more hubs taking into account the security of the nation. I had stated that the NSG is a quick response team and needs to reach places on very short notice. The fog in Delhi is a big issue and I had even stated that God forbid there is an incident at this time, the operations would be delayed to a large extent. Almost every flight and train is delayed due to the fog and the situation would have been no different for the NSG had it been needed to take off from Delhi for an emergency operation. However none of these even took off and only once the 26/11 attack took place did they take us seriously.

Dutt points out that the NSG should be asked to make compromises or manage with what is thrown at them. The land that is provided to them is there, but the NSG still does not have the title. It is an elite force and hence I personally feel that they should be given what they ask for.

Today there appears to be a lot of haggling when it comes to discussing the NSG. Most of the discussions have revolved round down sizing the force when it is a well known fact that this force is extremely important for the nation. There is a constant tussle on about the down sizing of the force and sources say that this has largely to do with the VVIP security aspect. Some want the VVIP security to be down sized and this is something that has becoming a debating point in the government circles as they are a few who want no change in that structure. Instead they are discussing issues such as such reducing the two special action groups attached to the smaller hubs of the NSG to one. The training too appears to have taken a beating and the rounds fired has dropped drastically from 90 rounds a week per commando to 30 a week. Further the MHA has also decided to reduce the strength of the NSG to 2500 from 5000. Ironically out of the 2500 men that they propose on having would also be in charge of the VVIP security which would mean that hardly anyone would be left in case of a major 26/11 styled attack.

Dutt is of the view that in case they are planning on downsizing the force then the aspect to be looked into is VVIP security. A sizeable number of commandoes do a VVIP duty and if this strength is reduced then correspondingly a lot of the expenditure does come down. Further another aspect that can looked into the blast investigation which is carried out by the NSG. I would think that if they decide to depend on forensics then the blast investigation wing of the NSG can be wound up. These are the areas in which the duties of the NSG could be reduced.

When hubs are created then one must understand that a minimum number of men are required to run it. There is a certain strength that we cannot do away with and most of these men have a set of specialised functions. If we get to see a reduction of forces in the NSG then we are asking for trouble.

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Phone hacking-26/11, what is the connection?

An incident at Philippines in which four persons were arrested for allegedly hacking into phone lines to fund terror operations has left investigators worried. The police over there had picked up four persons for hacking into AT&T phone systems and later transferring that loot to Saudi based groups which funded terrorist activities.

Indian investigators would be interested in looking into this case since it would help solve one of the many mysteries in the 26/11 attack. Investigators have not been able to definitively tell how the attack had been financed. Each of those involved in the attack speak about the money that was given to them by both the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and also the ISI, but none have been able to pin point as to how the money had been raised. It is obvious that some part of the money came through the circulation of fake currency and also the drug cartel run by Dawood Ibrahim. There are a couple of trails to show that this money was used, but then again the trail and the evidence on hand is very limited. This money could have been used to carry out the training apart from other expenses incurred during the preparation of the attack.

However 26/11 was almost like a global operation where operatives from Italy, USA and Canada were roped in. Even while looking at the David Headley aspect to the case, it is not clear as to where the money he used during the operation came from. A couple of months after David Headley was arrested by the FBI, there were small leads in Italy where two persons were arrested. The police were mum about their operation, but it was largely believed that they had been part of this attack.

Phone hacking is not exactly a new concept, but going by this case it appears that terrorists have managed to succeed in this particular operation. It is believed that the money that has been generated through this case is approximately 2 million USD. The investigations showed that the hackers were working for a man by the name Muhammad Zamir who hails from Italy. Zamir was arrested in the year 2007 for the same charge as he was running a call centre through which he was buying information on cell numbers from hackers. After his arrest this call centre had been taken over by a Saudi national who is today under the scanner for this case.

In the instant case the hackers who are hired by these terrorist groups sell sim cards which allows users to make calls through lines that have been hacked. Using the same number the calls are then made by others, but the bills land up with the original customer. When the customer lodges a complaint about these fraudulent calls the telephone operator waves off the charges on these calls, the money of which lands up with these terrorist groups which use it to fund terror operations.

There are two causes for concern in this particular case for Indian agencies. It is relatively a new trend in so far as India and terror groups could use such techniques to carry out similar operations. There are several unauthorised personnel who sell sim cards in India and agencies feel that customers could be duped by such elements. Moreover there are also plenty of private centres which collect phone numbers and the data base of persons which again could be used for the wrong purposes, Indian agencies also feel.

However what Indian investigators would be looking into immediately is if any of the funds used for the 26/11 operation was raised through this concept known as phone hacking. It would be too early to give a definitive picture on the same since the matter is still under investigation by the FBI which along with AT&T gave the tip off to the Philippines police in the first place.

NIA officials who have been probing the David Headley link to the case say that the funding of his operation is not clear. He keeps talking about money being handed over to him by Sajid Mir and other operatives. However he was not in the know of how the money had been raised. It is unlikely that funds raised through fake currency could have been used to fund Headley since this was one of the most secretive operations during the 26/11 attack. The fake currency racket emerging out of Pakistan has its biggest marker in India so it is unlikely that they would have used such a well known method to fund the Headley operation as the money trail is what normally leads up to the operation of a terrorist.

Terror- what is in store for South India?

A major conspiracy is brewing in South India and the Intelligence Bureau, National Investigating Agency and local police are studying this case. There have been many incidents in the past couple of months which have led investigators to believe that there is a coming together of various outfits to wreck havoc in Southern India.

Firstly calls to Pakistan were intercepted from the prisons of Kerala. Then there was a bomb found on the route that L K Advani had taken during his recently concluded yatra. This was followed by the police tracking calls being made from a Bangalore jail. The latest of the incidents was the arrest of a key Indian Mujahideen operative along with his associates from Chennai.

The arrest of these youth is probably first of the concrete actions taken by the investigating agencies after calls from the jails were intercepted. Investigators are not trying to join the dots taking all the above mentioned incidents into account. Today they have found that terror groups are trying and combining several like minded outfits and creating a formidable force in Southern India. What has been found so far is that outfits such as the Indian Mujahideen, Al-Badr and the Al-Umma are joining hands in order to carry out terror strikes in Southern India.

Although the arrest of Mohammad Ishrath Khan has revealed that he was in the know of a conspiracy to carry out a terror strike in Bangalore, he however had no direct connection to this incident. Hailing from New Delhi, he was down in Chennai to procure weapons which gave the police an indication that a terror strike was being planned in Nothern India as well.

The calls that were made from jail is what set the ball rolling. They were a series of calls that were being made to Pakistan and also parts of Uttar Pradesh. The investigators are still studying the transcripts in detail and so far have found that the calls were being made about creating a major force in South India and also carrying out a deadly strike in Bangalore.

The Indian Mujahideen which has its strongest presence in Karnataka was trying to rope in both the Al-Umma and the Al-Badr which are stronger in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. All these outfits are ideologically similar and hence the coming together of these outfits was not exactly a difficult job. Moreover there has been a constant tussle to set the network in Tamil Nadu. Barring a couple of incidents there has really not been much of activity in Tamil Nadu. Terror groups have been testing the waters in so far as Tamil Nadu. They have been gradually building up their modules on a smaller scale.

During the investigations the police found that they wanted to set up more modules in Tamil Nadu while they would continue to send the recruits in from Karnataka to strenghthen the base. Kerala which has been considered to be a play ground for these groups would continue to be used to fund operations and also transit point for arms and ammunition.

The calls that have been made from jail will hold the key to these investigations. It is clear that those terrorists who have been in jail were making the calls to Pakistan to discuss the new operations that they have been planning in Southern India. Apart from the calls that were made by hawala operatives from the Kerala jail, the NIA has also been probing the calls that were made from the Bangalore jail. The NIA apart from questioning two members Mohammad Hussain and Fahad both of whom belong to the Al-Badr faction have also detained two more youth who were in regular contact with these men.

The IB says that Tamil Nadu is a state that one must watch out for. First it was the underworld that penetrated into this state and this was followed by terror groups. It had become a major drug transit point and later on fake currency too was pumped in. The Al-Umma in particular has its roots in Tamil Nadu. This group which shot into the limelight post Babri Masjid has been planning several strikes in the state. However there was a major crack down on the outfit and it was weakened to a large extent. Today they are using the services of both the Indian Mujahideen and also the Al-Badr to improvise their position in the region. The recent plot on the Advani yatra route is also being attributed to the Al-Umma.

The crack down two days back at Chennai also goes on to show that these outfits have been targeting youth in colleges. In all the IB and the Tamil Nadu police picked up four persons which include three engineering student and one MBA student. They were picked up along with their uncle who hails from Delhi. This is a cause for concern since penetration into colleges has always had a bad effect on national security. The idea and motive is clear and they are forming a force with the help of educated youth so that attacks have more precision. The first wave of attacks carried out by the Indian Mujahideen had caused a lot of destruction and this was primarily to do with the fact that it had been planned to perfection by educated youth.

NIA sources say that there is still a while left for the investigations to be completed. We have a fair idea of what is being planned and it appears that they have intentionally used cell phones from jails to plan future operations as one usually does not suspect such operations being planned out of jails. It is clear that the message had come from Pakistan and on the basis of this some youth were sent to meet these terrorists in jail and were told to plan the operation from there.

Looking at our threats 3 years later

Three years have passed since India witnessed one of its worst terror attacks. While the National Investigating Agency tries to pile on the evidence in the case specific to David Headley and Tawwahur Rana, security agencies across the country find themselves being foxed by a new wave of terror-Uroganised Hell.
All agencies including the NIA which probes terror cases say that the biggest threat perception for India would be from within. Home grown terror which would be carried on smaller scales will continue to haunt the country. We do not dispute the fact that the Lashkar-E-Tayiba will look to launch bigger attacks. However there would be these smaller cases every now and then which would continue to cause an irritant to security forces. Radha Vinod Raju, former boss of the NIA too points out that such fringe groups would continue to trouble agencies thus making the job ahead very tough.
The Indian Mujahideen in particular which has been revamped as the Bullet 313 is capable enough to carry out smaller strikes even in their weakest form. Although they are lying low today, there continues to be splinter groups within the outfit which carry out individual attacks. In addition to this there has been some movement within this group which indicates they are trying to strenghthen themselves. Intelligence Bureau reports suggest that some members of the Student Islamic Movement of India have been moving into the I’m. This is largely because of the frustration of the ban. Many members feel that the government is being unfair towards them and the better way to hit back is to join the IM which is a clearly a destructive outfit.
While the threat from the IM would continue to haunt India, the other headache comes from the Babbar Khalsa International which has shown all signs of a major come back. Although the area of focus for the BKI would be mainly Punjab, the ISI has been coaxing them to widen their area of operation to New Delhi also. The recent Ambala haul is testimony to that fact. This outfit would however focus on hitting out using political reasons. Unlike the IM which carries out attacks on innocents, the BKI would be used for bigger operations such hostage crisis and political murders. The BKI which has been sheltered by the ISI too has insisted on such type of attacks since they do not want to divert from their original cause.
Security experts also do not downplay the threat by some Hindu groups in the days to come. The recent spate of investigations have sure put the breaks on them, but it is a threat that cannot be ruled out completely. Their attacks would however be retaliatory in nature, police and Intelligence sources point out.
The areas of concern in India in the days to come would be Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. The IB has sounded alerts regarding these states as they are considered to be the epicente of terror. A lot of movement especially by Islamic organisations have been found in these states and reports suggest that most of the modules are very much active in these parts of the country.
On the international front, the threat perception for India is largely from the Lashlar, Harkat-ul-Jihadi and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. The HuJI has been making moves and have had sucess to a certain extent. The investigations into the Delhi High Court blasts point towards HuJI. This outfit had warned of an attack at Delhi recently. Their modules are active mainly in Hyderabad, Delhi West Bengal and Kerala.
The biggest threat from over seas however is from the Lashkar. The ambitious Karachi project is something that continues to be a concern. Although Pakistan does claim that it is doing everything to curb terror, all reports from across the border show that the Karachi project which is a combine between Pakistani and Indian Home grown jihadis is on. Stephen Tankel, an expert on matters pertaining to this outfit pointed out that Lashkar is still India’s biggest enemy and the outfit could unleash fury.

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Two BJP MP’s suspended

The Bhatatiya Janata Party central leadership which had issued show cause notices to two of its MPs in Karnataka has now suspended them. J Shantha and S Pakiruppa from the Bellary abd Raichur constituencies have been suspended for anti party activities.
It was alleged that the two were opey campaigning in favour of B Sriramulu, who is contesting the By poll after he resigned from the party. K S Eshwarappa, state president of the BJP while confirming the news said that he had complained to the central leadership about this following which action had been taken. He had dashed off letters to both L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj who agreed to suspend the two MPs.
Earlier showcause notices were served on G Somashekara Reddy, brother of jailed former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, B Nagendra, H T Suresh Babu (all MLAs) and MLC Mruthyunjaya Jinaga
The legislators have been asked to reply to the notices within three days, failing which they would be expelled from the party’s primary membership.

AP trust vote will be a no show

The much hyped up no confidence motion proposed by the Telegu Desam Party is expected to be a now show. Chandrababu Naidu who has been thretening a no confidence motion against the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh says that the main idea was to expose the government.
The YSR Congress party which has been gunning for the Congress is however ready to support the motion but in reality they do not have the numbers to pull the government down. Despite the claim that all loyalists in the Congress would support the motion, in reality only 21 MLAs from the Jagan camp are ready to support the motion. Including the TDP. Jagan would need at least 50 MLAs on his side to topple the Congress.
The numbers are all in favour of the Congress and those MLAs from Telangana too have decided not to support the no confidence motion.
Naidu however will have to take the final call and it is entirely up to him whether he wants to go ahead with this excercise. He has been chanting the farmer problems and saying that a no confidence motion would take place only if the Congress remains blinded to the plight of the farmers. He however has clearly indicated that his idea is not to force an election in the state but to expose the Congress.
A meeting of the Telegu Desam Legislature Party would be held on November 30th to take a final call on the issue.

A live terrorist would have been a hub of information

No 26/11 anniversary is complete without a mention of the National Security Guards whose valiant efforts ensured that the ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba were neutralized. The terrorists were on a roll until the NSG came into the picture.

J K Dutt who led the National Security Guards considers this to be one of the toughest operations that he has undertaken. However today he adds that he wished there was a negotiator provided by the government so that they could forced at least a couple of terrorists to surrender themselves. A live terrorist may be a security risk, but he is a hub of information says J K Dutt in this interview with rediff.com.

Three years after 26/11 how do you find the security scenario in India?

Firstly I feel that there is a need to enhance the scope of our anti terror policy. The recent spate of blasts go on to show that there is a lot of movement and terror groups are very much active. We have found that the terrorists have been chosing their targets carefully and also selectively. We need to prevent this from happening in case we need a secure nation.

What do you think needs to be done?

There is a great deal of emphasis that needs to placed on our Intelligence services. They may have had their successes, but there is more that needs to be done in this regard. If the intelligence is made stronger then a lot of this problem would be solved according to me. I also feel that investigators should think out of the box. Terrorists seem to rely more on technology and we need a lot of improvement on that front in order to counter them. Taking the help of private sectors could one solution.

After placing all your lives on the line to fight those terrorists do you feel let down by the sub standard investigation carried out by our police?

I think this is too harsh a statement to make. I would agree that there needs to be improvement on some fronts. For instance the National Investigating Agency needs to improve some more. Moreover the investigations in the recent blast cases too has not been up to the mark as they have found no concrete clues. We have found to be relying on the leads provided by the United States of America. This is something that one can the fault the Indian investigators with. If certain incidents have taken place in some countries then we really cannot blame our investigators for relying on investigators from other countries. Moreover on the acquittal of some persons in this case, all I would say is that if this has happened then there has been some gap in the probe.

We have found to be wanting on the coastal security front. Do you agree sir?

I have seen a lot of reports in the media regarding what the government has been doing to enhance coastal security. I wish the government did more to publicise the follow up on this aspect. They should put into the minds of the people that the security is tight. The citizen should have no doubts regarding security. There is a need not only to enhance security, but also raise the bar where governance is concerned.

What about this long drawn judicial process when it comes to hanging Ajmal Kasab?

There are certain aspects to this. If people feel that the process is long drawn then it is the government should respond to the sentiments. Many procedures could be cut off in such cases so that the case is completed early.

Do you still believe that there were only ten terrorists that day?

I have said earlier that there were ten who were on the field. As per my analysis of the situation there were in all ten terrorists to battle. However I would not be too sure about their support system outside or from Pakistan. This is something that the investigators should speak about. The brief given to us was to neutralize the ten terrorists.

Had there been no delay in communication do you think you could have finished the operation earlier?

This is something that has been spoken about a lot. There have been longer operations than these in other parts of the world with much less terrorists. However I would not compare it with any other incident. I would also not want to blame any one for this. The only thing we had on mind on that day was to secure all lives. My objective was clear and that there should be no loss of life. I can say with conviction that after the arrival of the NSG there were no innocent lives lost although we lost two of our brave officers.

Were the terrorists more prepared once the NSG arrived on the scene?

Not really. They were more on guard as one of their calls which were intercepted warned them about the arrival of the commandoes. After this they took their position. We did not know the number of terrorists when we entered into the scene. Moreover we did not have a proper map. The map of the hotel provided to us had only squares and no indication as to what the square even meant. It could have been a room, a dining hall or a pantry. Hence it took us some time to figure all this out. We had to tread with caution while checking the rooms. However we got to know their location and pinned them down. Earlier it was being said that the NSG should take up one building at a time. However I rejected it as it could have hampered the operation. If we had focused on one building at a time then it would have given the terrorists in the other buildings more time to prepare. However today I feel that we carried out the operation with very little collateral damage.

Were any of the terrorists attempting a hostage crisis?

One telephone exchange revealed that they were trying to do so. This was intercepted and immediately we took special measures to prevent this.

Did you try to get them to surrender?

We did try and tell them to surrender. However they refused and continued to hurl abuses at us. I really wish we had a negotiator with us. These negotiators understand the behaviour of such persons and are in a better position to manage a surrender. I am not saying that they would have listened to a negotiator. But they would have understood the tone of those persons better and we could have understood what they exactly wanted better.We did try but they were not listening and in fact became more aggressive. Each time we asked them to surrender, they hurled grenades and increased the shooting.

Getting them to surrender meant keeping them alive. Isnt the amount of Rs 17 crore spent on one terrorist enough?

Do not look at it that way. A live terrorist is a hub of information which we could have used against Pakistan. We would have had more evidence.

No takers for Kishenji in Karimnagar

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The reported death of Kishenji alias Mallojula Koteshwar Rao has not created any ripples in his home town of Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh. There had been a lot of talk that he was sympathetic towards the Telangana movement and reports from the intelligence bureau had trickled in that the naxalites were trying to enter into this movement.
The people of Telangana are however keeping their distance from this man. It was alright as long as they were raising their voice for the farmers. However we decided to stay away from him once they decided to give preference to the bullet over the ballot.
Kishenji was born in Pedapalli village of Karimnagar district and he got attracted to the movement looking at the plight of the farmers.
A science graduate he started off with the Peoples’ War Group in Andhra Pradesh before moving to Chattisgargh, Maharashtra and then West Bengal.
Initially when he joined the naxal movement in AP as a student he had a lot of sympathy in the region. The people of his district today say that it was because of the naxal movement they were able to raise their voice against the Zamindar system. His influence on the social change is something that drove the Telangana movement in the first place.
However over the years a hatred started to build up when the likes of Kishenji took up arms and chose the bullet. In the bargain the people started to get crushed by the police. This brought about anger aming the people as a result of which they were not ready to even provide shelter to the naxals.
Gaddar a famous Telangana leader who has been associated with the Telangana movement said today that it was a loss. However there have been reports of a rift as Gaddar chose a politcal party to fight the Telangana battle. This was not acceptable to the naxals.
However the people of Telangana are not speaking much about the death of Kishenji. The government tried to give a wrong colour to the movement by stating that the naxals were involved. Hence they feel it would be better to stay away from the recent incident.

Will continue probe on Karkare’s death

One year after 26/11 there was a major controversy that erupted and this was to do with the death of Hemanth Karkare. The theory that was floated was whether Karkare was killed by Ajmal Kasab and co or was the situation made use of by right wing groups as they were upset with the manner in which the officer was probing some of the cases.

S M Mushrif, a former IPS officer had written a book Who Killed Karkare-The Real Face of Terrorism had created quite a debating point. He had raised various points in the book relating to the death of Karkare. He even blamed some Right Wing groups of being behind the killing as they felt that keeping Karkare alive would mean more investigation into right wing terror.

Today it appears to be a concluded theory that the death of Karkare was the doing of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist, Ajmal Kasab. However Mushrif says in this brief interaction with rediff.com that he would not allow the issue to die down unless and until the matter is probed.

I never claimed that it was a definitive theory and only said that there was no harm if the point that I have been raising is probed. The reason why I came to this conclusion is because the Intelligence Bureau was aware of this attack five days in advance and also knew about the entire operation. This lack of intelligence could have been utilised by the Right Wing groups who had put Karkare on their radar. They were aware that Karkare would be on the road during this attack and hence could have used this as an opportunity.

Today there is a public interest litigation that is pending in the High Court. A person by the name Radhakanth Yadav has filed this PIL quoting my book. In August 2010 the court had directed both the Union and State government to file its reply in a month. However there was no reply and on December 2010, the court raised 6 crucial points and now has once again sought a reply. It has been 11 months since and there has been no reply on the matter. Probably no one want to take up this matter as it is too controversial. It appears like no one including the courts do not have the courage to take this matter up. Let anything be the outcome of the investigation, but let it be investigated.

I get the feeling that each and everyone is trying to drop the issue and give it a quiet burial. I know the RSS is extremely upset with this book. But they would not ask for a ban either on it. If they seek a ban then it has to inquired into and if this is done more facts regarding them are bound to crop up. Hence they would want a quietus on the issue.

However I would not let the issue die down. The matter today is in the high court and I will wait for some more time for the court to take it up and also for the government to file its reply. In case I feel that they are also skirting the topic and trying to burry this part of the case, then I will go up to the Supreme Court of India too seeking a probe into this angle of the case. Some court in India has to take a decision on this or else it would be unfair and un-democratic.

Bhat and Shah

A question that India would like to ask Pakistan is regarding the whereabouts of a man by the name Muzzamil Bhat. There has been a deathly silence on this man who imparted training to all the ten terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks.

Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that Pakistan has sure gone soft on Bhat and also another man by the name Zarar Shah who was the tech wizard during the 26/11 attack.

Shah according to Pakistan agencies is under arrest. Although India doubts the identity of the man, Pakistan claims that he is the man that has been spoken about and he is in their custody.

The likes of both Bhat and Shah are very crucial to any country that is waging a war against terrorism. According to Pakistan, Shah was arrested in the year 2008 itself but as per Indian records his name crops up as Wajid. This is an alias is what Pakistan has to say, but according to India there is no real confirmation on the identity of the man.

There is a reason why the weak stance on these two persons could be a cause for concern. Shah is an tech wizard who is responsible for the IT wing of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba whole Bhat is one of the best fighters whose services the Lashkar and the ISI cannot do without. Hence it is natural that Pakistan would do everything to protect these two.

Bhat is referred to several times in the Headley investigation. Headley claims that Bhat was his handler between the years 2005 and 2007. Moreover India has specific information that it was Bhat who imparted combat training to all the ten gun men who carried out the 26/11 attack.

India has been on the trail of Bhat for quite some time now. His journey in India commenced with the Kashmir battle and every Lashkar operative fighting this battle was trained by him. His next tryst on India soil was the Akshardham attack. It has been found that he had planned the attack.

Shah on the other hand has been one of the most trusted aides of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. The technology cell of the Lashkar plays a very important role during any attack. He was the one who sent out the mails after the 26/11 attack in the name of the Deccan Mujahideen. Further he ensured that all calls that were being made between the attackers and the terrorists on the ground went on smoothly.

The IB says that there is no doubt that Shah will continue to play an important role in the operations of the Lashkar. However the bigger worry is Bhat who continues to go about his business with no problem at all.

Today Bhat runs two camps in Pakistan at Bhawalpur and Fort Abbas. There is a lot of activity that goes on here and Bhat has been personally training the fidayeens in these camps. In fact they have even tied up with the Jaish-e-Mohammad and these two groups train together in these facilities. In fact the two groups have ensured that nearly 200 fidayeens slipped into India in batches.

In so far as Shah, there needs to be further investigation as he has access to a very important data base. He has personally prepared a data base comprising 340 different sites which could be attacked and in so far India is concerned there are nearly 40 targets. This information was gathered by the FBI which got access to the data base prepared by Shah. However the worry is he could have more information on him and this may not have come out in public domain.

Read: Men who played key role in 26/11