His Pak dream never came true

T Naseer, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative who was recently arrested on the Bangladesh border, is proving out to be a tough nut to crack. Senior police officials from Karnataka, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — who are currently in Bengaluru to interrogate him — have not managed to get any concrete information out of him as yet.
One of the investigators told rediff.com that Naseer has made two things clear — one is that he had acted at the behest of Indian Mujahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal to carry out the Bengaluru serial blasts last July, and secondly, his dream to go to Pakistan was never fulfilled.

Naseer, who has been in police custody for the past four days now, has given contradictory versions during his interrogation. The officer says that he has been trained extensively to dodge investigation and interrogation, and hence, he is always trying to confuse the police.

On day one, he had let out information that Bhatkal had asked him to help carry out the Bengaluru blasts and he had obliged; apart from raising funds for the attack.

On Tuesday he told his interrogators that he was so committed to the cause of jihad that it was his dream to go to Pakistan and meet with the top leadership of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, for which he was working.

Very vaguely, while speaking about the task handed out to him, he said, “I undertook what was asked of me. It was a dream to go to Pakistan and meet with the top Lashkar leadership. I was told to go to Bangladesh and meet with my handler over there.”

Not naming his handler, Naseer continued, “Once in Bangladesh, my handler assured me that he would ensure my safe passage into Pakistan. However he convinced me that it was very difficult to enter Pakistan since there was a lot of international pressure and hence, the screening process was tight. However, I was adamant and wanted to go there. I waited for my handler to return with the documents, but he disappeared. I was supposed to get out of Bangladesh on that day, but my handler never returned and this led to my arrest.”

Intelligence Bureau sources say that Naser is a very high ranking operative and has loads of information on how exactly Indian Mujahideen’s south Indian modules work. He was a trusted aide of the Lashkar since he was able to recruit operatives with ease.

Interrogators will have to pull out several tricks in order to get information out of this man. He has been giving a different version to the story every day, and his primary aim is to confuse the police team. Police from six states have been interrogating him continuously, and are trying to join the dots.

What each state is looking for:

Karnataka: His involvement in the Bengaluru serial blasts. His accomplices and also how many more modules he had set up in the state and information on how to bust these modules.

Kerala: His recruitment centres and also the number of modules he has set up. His statements on the role played by him in the assassination bid on former chief minister E K Nayanar [ Images ]. They would also try and find out from him whether he had met with Tawwahur Rana, another LeT operative, a Canadian national of Pakistani origin, currently held in the United States.

Delhi: The role played by him in the Delhi serial blasts. There is some information regarding the role played by in the serial blasts in Delhi, emerging through the interrogation of the other accused. They would like to ascertain whether Naseer had financed or had any other involvement in the blasts.

Tamil Nadu: The cops from this state would be looking for information on any role played by him in the Coimbatore blasts.

Jammu and Kashmir: Naseer had recruited several jihadis to operate for the Lashkar in J&K. He had managed to recruit over a dozen people and send them to J&K. The cops of this state are trying to find out if there are any more such cadres who are on their way. However, more importantly, they are trying to find out the route that he had used to sneak in the cadres, and also the route some of them used to sneak out of J&K and enter Pakistan. They believe that Naseer being a high-ranking cadre has details of the routes.

The battle for Hyderabad

The decision to split Andhra Pradesh may have caused thousands to celebrate across Hyderabad, but it has made a considerable number of residents of the state capital apprehensive about their future.

While original inhabitants of Telangana region remain unaffected by the developments, it is the ‘settlers’ (as they are called in Hyderabad) from Rayalseema and Andhra, who are worried.

The future is bleak, believes realtor Sadashiva Reddy, and goes on to explain, “I hail from the Rayalseema belt and have been working in this city since the past two decades. We have always shared a cordial relationship with the people of Telangana region. However, during the recent agitation, we could feel the discontentment among the people of Telangana and they felt that we had deprived them of their right. I will not be surprised if we are asked to leave once Hyderabad is made the capital of Telangana.”

Marataza Khan, a taxi driver who originally hails from the old city of Hyderabad, says that people from outside Telangana need not worry. “We have accepted the people of Rayalseema and Andhra and we don’t have any intentions of creating problems for them”.

But he adds, “Some people from other belts, who have deprived us of our rights and blocked the development of Telangana, will face problems. There are several instances when people from the Rayalseema belt have grabbed land belonging to the people of this region. These people will face problems”.

Venaktesh, who runs a small tea stall near the Charminar, hails from Warrangal and fears that he may be forced to go back to his town. “I keep hearing that people from the non-Telangana belt will be asked to move out. I have been living in Hyderabad since the last seven years and it will be unfortunate if I have to leave make a start all over again”.

But the issue of Hyderabad becoming a part of Telangana has worried real estate developers the most.

“Hyderabad has grown considerably in the past couple of years. Thanks to the IT boom, the prices of real estate have shot up. Since today orning, I have been flooded with calls regarding the fate of investments in the city. I think it would be in the best interest of the investors if Hyderabad is made a Union Territory and the capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” says realtor Suman Reddy.

Reddy points out that the issue is not merely a sentimental one; the financial aspect of such a decision also had to be considered.

“I don’t see any sort of assurance being given by any of the Telangana leaders to the investors about their safety. This will definitely scare them away,” predicts Reddy.

Shabir, an auto drive, wants Hyderabad to remain a part of Andhra Pradesh. “Why should they take it away now? People from across the state have contributed towards making Hyderabad what it is today. The livelihoods of so many, including people from non-Telangana regions, are dependant on this state and they should not be deprived of that,” he says.

Dismissing the assurances by Telangana supporters, he says, “It will be another state for us. I think that the idea of having a common capital would be the best thing and it would be in the interest of people from all three regions”.

Nalini, who works at a medical store, has a completely different take on the entire issue. She believes that in spite of the Centre’s promise, a new Telangana state will never be formed and the issue will die down soon.

“If Hyderabad is taken away from Andhra, I will move out. I will prefer to live in my own state, where I have equal rights and am not looked upon as an outsider,” she explains.

The Muslim community in the old city, which has been openly supporting the demand for a separate Telangana, stress that Hyderabad should be made the capital of the new state.

“We are ready to continue with our protests until our dream is achieved. But there is no reason for the businessmen to worry; we have no intentions of chasing them out of the state. There is no need for anyone to leave Hyderabad at least,” says Lateed Mohammad Khan, who has been leading the minority community over this issue.

Khan claims that the government had dithered so long over granting permission for a separate state due to immense pressure from the land mafia. “Some elements of the land mafia have even demanded Rs 2 lakh crore compensation from the government, fearing that they will have to move out of Hyderabad now,” he says.

Civil War if Hyderabad is seperated from Telangana

The five-decade-long agitation for a separate Telangana state may be bearing fruit with the announcement on Wednesday night by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] that the process for forming the new state would begin.

Dr K Jayashankar, former vice-chancellor of Kakatiya University, Warangal, has been in the thick of the agitation for several years now. He has written several articles and books on why Telangana is important. Fondly known as the father (pita maha) of the movement, Dr Jayashankar says that the government has made a commitment and he hoped they would stick to it.

In this interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Dr Jayashankar explains why it is important that Hyderabad becomes the capital of the new state and why the demand to make it a Union Territory should be dropped immediately.

What are your first reactions to the decision of the Union government?

Obviously I am happy. It is a long-standing dream and it seems to be coming true today. I would not call it the end of the matter, but it is the beginning. The process has commenced and there is still some time to go before it becomes a complete reality.

At any point do you feel that the Union government may backtrack on its decision? Do you think this was a tactic to ease the tension prevailing in the state?

It is clear that they have made a commitment. The process is underway and we trust it. This has been a long struggle and we hope that the government will not backtrack. When the home minister of the country makes an announcement, we trust it.

What if the government goes back on its decision? The ball is now in the court of the AP government which does not seem too enthusiastic about the formation of Telangana.

As I said earlier, we trust the decision of the Union government. If at any point of time, they backtrack we will not take it lying down. We have plans to ensure that the government does not backtrack.

There have been violent protests in the past. What makes this one unique and why do you think the government gave in this time?

Yes, there has been a long history to this movement. Moreover if you notice this time around the movement was more people based. The political parties had a very small role to play. There were students and the common man who had come out in the streets and made the demand. I would call this the final struggle and the unique thing was that everyone was in the movement this time. This made the difference. It was in this backdrop that the government decided to take action and give in to our demands.

You have written an extensive paper on this issue. What according to you are the main grievances of the people of Telangana?

Irrigation is one of the major grievances. A raw deal was meted out to the region regarding the allocation and utilisation of river waters. Telangana is encircled by two major rivers of south India [ Images ] — Krishna and Godavari. In Andhra Pradesh, 68.5 percent of the catchment area of Krishna and 69 percent catchment area of Godavari are in the Telangana region. In addition, most of the tributaries of these rivers traverse its length and breadth. If the waters of these rivers are properly utilised, almost every acre of cultivable land available in Telangana could be provided with assured irrigation facilities and every village could be provided with assured drinking water facilities.

But Telangana has been denied its rightful share in the river waters by successive governments over the last four and a half decades, irrespective of the political parties and leaders in power.

Education is another issue. At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh it was assured that disparities in the levels of development in different regions of the state, including in education, would be removed in five to ten years time. But even after 47 years, the literacy rate in Telangana continues to be lowest in the state.

Industries is another aspect. No major industry worth its name has been setup in any of the districts of Telangana region as compared to the establishment of several industries in Visakhapatnam [ Images ], Vijayawada, Kakinada, Nellore, Tirupati, and Cuddapah. Quite a few major industries established in the Telangana region during the period of much maligned Nizam are being closed one after the other by successive governments.

Also there are about 15 lakh jobs in the government and government-funded offices and establishments in the state. Based on the size of population at least 40 percent of these jobs (6 lakh), should have gone to the job seekers from Telangana. But the total number of jobs now occupied by them is less than 3 lakh. There are more than 5,000 employees in the state’s secretariat. Out of them not even 10 percent belong to the Telangana region. There are more than 130 posts of heads of departments but only 7 or 8 are from Telangana.

What happens to Hyderabad which is the bone of contention? Are you willing to give up Hyderabad and form Telangana without it?

Why should we give up Hyderabad? Hyderabad is a part of Telangana and I think that there should be no debate whatsoever. I would like to ask as to why in the first place does anyone even bother debating this aspect? Even if you look at it geographically, the demand by the people of Andhra and Rayalseema is ridiculous. They have no access to Hyderabad. It is an integral part of Telangana and should remain that way.

What if you are asked to make a compromise on Hyderabad?

There is no question of compromise on this issue.

Why is Hyderabad becoming such a debating point?

This is entirely created. Everyone knows that once Telangana is formed, it would have Hyderabad as its capital. A lot of people in power want to retain Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh due to a comfort zone that they are in. Most of these people are involved with realtors and they will benefit.

There are huge business interests in Hyderabad. What about those persons? What do they do?

Who is preventing business people from coming into Hyderabad or who is forcing them to leave? It will continue the way it is and people can do business freely. Yes there are some businessmen who are opposing Hyderabad going away from Andhra Pradesh. I want to ask these businessmen one question. Have you come here to do business or rule over us? We are not asking them to leave the city. They are like tenants and we will take care of them.

What do you have to say about the split in the Congress over this issue. Nearly 50 MLAs have already resigned?

These MLAs have always opposed the formation of the state for their vested interests. If they are resigning and the party is splitting then it is their headache. These are the persons who have ensured the delay and Telangana had always faced a roadblock due to resistance from other regions. It is time they realise the misery of the people and give us our state.

What will happen if the government refuses to part with Hyderabad?

There will be civil war.

Telangana Is Hyderabad And Vice Versa

That Telangana Rashtriya Samithi and its chief Chandrasekhara Rao have spearheaded the statehood movement is well known. But there is another section that has taken the state by storm for Telangana: the students’ movement. The violence unleashed by the students was a major worry for the state government even as the TRS chief continued with his fast.

Rama Rao, senior member of the Joint Action Committee who led the students’ protest in Hyderabad, says it is no longer a political movement, but the people’s movement.

“We are happy that the Centre has agreed to the demand, but we want to see the process going through completely. In an interview to Vicky Nanjappa, Rao speaks about the movement and Telangana’s future.

Do you think this is a victory or just a tactic to quell the protests?

I think it is a victory. The first part of the battle has been won. However, we would like to see the process going through. Our demand was to grant us a separate state and there are certain procedures that need to be followed. We will keep a close watch on the government and how they treat the situation.

The agitation turned violent. Was it necessary?

All we had was a demand. From day one, I have told students that we should protest in a peaceful manner. This is a democracy and we have the right to protest peacefully. We did not expect the Andhra Pradesh government to get aggressive. In fact, the police force has terrorized the people. Was it a mistake on our part to make a valid demand? Moreover, when KCR took up the fast, the police tried using force to curb him. This was not acceptable to many of us and hence we stepped up the ante. However we have always made our demands through peaceful means. It was the police which was acting violent.

Could you elaborate on the police atrocities?

There are around 25,000 police personnel in the city. What is the government trying to prove? They have been brutal with us. They have resorted to every possible means of violence. Thousands of students have been arrested for staging protest. What shocked us the most is that the police men manhandled some of our female students. This was uncalled for. We have approached the State Human Rights Commission. Moreover, all the universities in the Telangana region have been captured by the police.

Why did the protest intensify to such an extent?

This is not the first time that the students are protesting. The struggle has been on for the past 50 years. We realized that the government was just not serious about the demands and was taking this issue for granted. During earlier agitations, at least 400 students were killed. Do you think we should let their efforts go waste?

What about political parties. This is after all a decision that needs to be made by politicians.

Till now, the parties were saying that they would form Telangana. We realized that they were not serious about it. The time had started to exceed and we began to believe that unless and until we raised our voice, this issue would never be resolved. Hence we decided to come out in the streets and protest. It was no longer a political movement. It has become a peoples’ movement.

Despite empty promises, the people still voted for the Congress. What is your take?

Yes, we realised that. We were assured, but that promise was never fulfilled. What we realized is that the Congress did not give any importance to the public movement and mandate. That is when we decided to take this fight to the streets and by ourselves without any political help. We had no other way to pressurize the government.

If the government backtracks once again, what would you do?

We will continue to protest, but will ensure that it is a peaceful one. We realize that only non-violence will help our cause.

Don’t you think that the students over-reacted by committing suicide?

No. It is very unfair on your part to say that. The students were genuinely concerned and they have been in this state since a long time. It was not done to stage-manage some drama, but their feelings were genuine and we will not let their sacrifice go waste. Moreover, we also realized that the government was targeting students unnecessarily.

So, who should get the credit for the statehood?

The people of Telangana and Chandrasekhara Rao. This is not a victory for the Congress. I know for a fact that they have tried to ensure that KCR and the people don’t get credit for this movement.

What about Hyderabad?

Hyderabad is Telangana and Telangana is Hyderabad. There is no compromise on that. We don’t have any conditions. All we want is Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital.

Why do you think that the Congress was dilly-dallying on this issue?

If Telangana had not seen the light of the day, it was only because of the people of Rayalaseema and the Congress. They have established businesses and have large tracts of land in these areas and at no cost did they want to compromise on their business interest.

Do you think this dream would have become a reality had YSR been alive?

With due respect to the departed leader, I would have to say that he was one of the main reasons for the delay. He did everything to scuttle the movement and also target some of the key leaders. He gave them important posts so that they would soften their stance.

Will Telangana be a prosperous state?

Yes, it will be. At present, there is no development, but there is no denying that it was a rich region. It was with the resources of Telangana that the rest of Andhra Pradesh was built. The government has always been biased in this issue. Not a single chief minister is from the Telangana region and majority of the ministers were from Rayalseema. In the past, we were assured that there would be either a CM or a deputy CM from Telangana, but this too has not happened. Is this not unfair? If we get a separate state, then Telangana will be prosperous

Why LeT is recruiting doctors for terror operations

The arrest of David Coleman Headley, an American national held on terror charges by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago earlier this month, is an indicator of the extent which the Lashkar-e-Tayiba could go up to carry an attack on Indian soil. The Lashkar is adopting new strategies to carry out terror strikes; and the latest one, according to the sources in the Intelligence Bureau, is the appointment of doctors.
The first signs of doctors being inducted into the Lashkar was noticed in Jammu and Kashmir a month ago. The Lashkar had made an appeal through its cadres in the Valley that doctors who wish to join the cause of jihad are welcome to join the Lashkar. The plan was to send in a doctor during a terror attack like the one on Mumbai on 26/11. The doctor could treat the terrorists during the attack.

The IB says that till date, the Lashkar has appointed over 15 doctors and are on the look-out for more. Apart from this, the Lashkar cadres across the country too have been told specifically to include doctors during the recruitment process.

The 15 doctors were sent to Pakistan for training. Out of those, seven have returned and have joined the cadres in the Valley. The IB says that these doctors will accompany cadres all the time and would provide medical aid in times of need.

The second phase of the recruitment process is already underway. The IB says that not all the recruited doctors are fully qualified. The Lashkar has made it clear that the doctors need to be well-versed in dealing with emergency situations. These doctors, apart from providing first-aid, will also have to deal with treating bullet injuries and other problems that may occur during the course of an attack.

It is now a well-known fact that terror groups from Pakistan are planning a bigger attack on India. Ilyas Kashmiri, the chief of the Al Qaeda’s 313 brigade, too had claimed in an interview that they — along with the Lashkar — had plans to launch Ghazb-e-Hind, a terror operation aimed at creating mayhem in India.

Kashmiri had also stated that what was seen in Mumbai was nothing, and they have something bigger planned. The IB says that this means that they are planning to send a larger force to carry out attacks in India.

Medical experts would back such teams of terrorists, so that the cadres can wage the battle for a longer period.

1,800 Lashkar terrorists waiting to strike India: IB

With the foreign media reporting a continued Lashkar-e-Tayiba threat to India , Indian intelligence agencies say that this dreaded outfit has at least 1,800 men on standby all set to enter into India and spread terror.

Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com that the reports coming in from foreign intelligence agencies were correct and the Lashkar in fact has regrouped in the past year, after it was bogged down following the Mumbai terror attacks last year.

The IB report on the Lashkar suggests that at least 600 terrorists have been kept on standby along the Line of Control and are awaiting orders to enter India. The rest are still in the Lashkar camps in Pakistan ready to follow suit.

The IB says that the Lashkar, since the past couple of months, has been on a recruiting spree and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence too has been playing a vital role in helping the recruitment process. The arrest of the top leaders by the Pakistan government had lowered the outfit’s morale. However, the Lashkar has been quick to regroup and commence its recruitment process.

The IB says that the Lashkar has increased its attacks recently in the Kashmir Valley. These incidents are only aimed at infiltrating and also testing the strength of the outfit. Moreover, they also need to show that they are still interested in Kashmir — while the actual intention is to spread mayhem in India.

How they regrouped

IB sources, who have submitted a report to the home ministry, the Lashkar regrouped with the help of various other outfits. Since there was a lot of pressure on the Pakistan administration to crack down on the outfit, it was not easy to do things as openly as they used to do before.

Since the Mumbai attacks, both the United States and the Indian agencies have been keeping a close watch. The US agencies were more worried about Lashkar teaming up with Al Qaeda .

The ISI has advised all terror outfits operating out of Pakistan to work as one. Their training centres are the same and the training programme is the same. During this time, when the Lashkar was under scrutiny, it was the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen , Jaish-e- Mohammad and the Hizbul Mujahideen recruiting on behalf of the Lashkar.

IB sources say that there has been a drastic change in policy and all these outfits have started to share a common ideology so that a common recruiting ground could be set up.

Thanks to this change in strategy all these outfits put together have nearly 15,000 members of which 1,800 have been kept ready to strike India. It is said that the Lashkar is desperate to show its strength and hence the outfit is getting desperate to carry out a major strike in India.

How ISI masterminds fake currency racket in India

India’s fake currency problem gets bigger and bigger.

So dependant are Pakistan-based terror outfits on fake currency they recently stole a secret template India used to print its currency.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is currently probing the theft with the help of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

The CBI and sources in the Intelligence Bureau say certain security features of the template were stolen to enable the printing of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. The investgators are certain that the theft has the fingerprints of the Pakistan military’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate.

Sources told rediff.com that the ISI relies on local gangs to undertake such assignments. IB sources say they are also probing if fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s [ Images ] henchmen were involved in the crime.

Investigating agencies also do not rule out in-house involvement. They suspect the ISI’s Indian contacts penetrated the establishments responsible for printing currency and obtained information.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the ISI wanted to make the fake Indian currency look authentic. Earlier, Indian security agencies easily spotted the fake currency. Hence, investigators claim the ISI’s dirty tricks division felt it was necessary to produce Indian currency to near perfection.

IB sources say the operation to steal the security features of Indian currency was two years in the making.

After stealing the template, the manufacturers of the fake currency also changed the quality of paper used for printing. Earlier, they used paper manufactured in Pakistan out of wood pulp. Today, the paper is imported from abroad and resembles the paper India uses in its currency.

IB reports allege that the ISI convinced the Pakistan government to import the currency standard printing paper, which the ISI diverted towards printing fake currency.

Indian intelligence sources point out that some Pakistan officials are aware of these activities since much of the fake currency is printed at government presses in Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.

Once the notes are printed, the ISI transports them to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Agents hand over the notes to individuals who smuggle them into India where it is exchanged on a 2:1 basis. That is, two fake rupees are exchanged for one genuine rupee.

The interrogation of a gang arrested recently in Uttar Pradesh revealed that most of the fake currency is being brought into India through Nepal. Women are often used to transport the notes to lower suspicion at border checkpoints.

Investigators say the thread in the freshly printed fake currency notes are no longer hazy; the watermarks, the Ashoka Pillar, Mahatma Gandhi’s image, the denomination and the RBI mark are more prominent.

The sprinkled dots are harder to identify when held against ultra violet light; also, the new fake notes ensure better visibility of the superimposed digit when held horizontally.

The biggest problem the ISI faced before the template was stolen was the size of the series prefix. However, with the template in its possession, the agency has fixed this problem — the alignment of the series prefix has been placed in a correct line.

Some Indian observers estimate the fake currency in circulation at Rs 169,000 crore (Rs 169 trillion), a figure the RBI denies.

Apart from funding terror operations in India, the fake money is used in real estate transactions.

The fake money has also entered the banking system. Investigators say an individual who wants to deposit fake currency will ensure that s/he does so when there is a crowd at the teller’s desk. Since the teller is too busy to check every note, the fake currency gets deposited, and into the Indian banking system.

The National Crime Record Bureau states that 1,170 cases of fake currency were registered last year, a decline from the 2,204 cases registered in 2007.

In the past year Rs 3.63 crores (Rs 36.3 million) in fake currency has been seized.

The CBI is investigating 13 cases pertaining to fake currency. All 13 cases have international ramifications involving the ISI.

Why Naseer is a prize catch for Indian security agencies

Indian investigators have plenty to smile about with the arrest of Thadiyantavida Naseer and his associate, Shafas, who were picked up by the Bangladesh police on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border.

Naseer is a prized catch since he played a crucial role in the various serial blasts that rocked the country. Moreover, he is also suspected to have guided terror suspect Tawwahur Rana (arrested for being a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative by the FBI in Chicago) during the latter’s visit to Kerala prior to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Naseer’s name first sprung up during the Bangalore serial blasts in 2008. The interrogation of 20 odd accused persons in connection with the blasts revealed that Naseer was behind the blasts. Intelligence Bureau sleuths who have a dossier on him say he operated as the financer of the Indian Mujahideen with Riyaz Bhatkal.

He had worked as a ginger contractor in Karnataka’s Kodagu district and sheltered several accused before the blasts. He then put all the IM cadres in a rented house near Hosur in Bangalore a month before the blasts.

Naseer, who originally hails from Kerala, took to jihad almost a decade ago. He started off as a small time operative who took part in anti-India meetings in Kerala. During this period, Naseer was accused in two murder cases and was also an accused in an attempt to murder case relating to then Chief Minister E K Nayanar. He was also booked by the police for setting a Tamil Nadu state transport bus on fire.

The IB says that Naseer was passionate about the cause and that what made the Lashkar-e-Tayiba rope him in as one of their main cadres. His first assignment with the Lashkar was to arrange for recruits. He travelled between Kerala and Karnataka and conducted several underground meetings and recruited many young men. In fact he teamed up with Bhatkal and recruited a core team of jihadis who were later sent into Kashmir to battle the Indian Army. This in fact was his first major assignment which sprung him to fame.

Naseer was then handed over a new role. This led the birth of the Indian Mujahideen, which was nothing but another wing of the LeT. The IB says that he travelled extensively between the Gulf and Pakistan while setting up the IM and finally he was asked to handle the finances of this outfit. Naseer single-handedly managed to rope in a lot of Gulf contacts who financed IM operations in India.

His first major assignment with the IM was the serial blasts which rocked Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi. He operated mostly out of Karnataka and Kerala. It was only after these blasts that the Indian security agencies raised the heat on him.

Intelligence Bureau officials say that Naseer had stayed on in Kerala for sometime after the blasts. It was during this time that he came in contact with Rana whom the Indian agencies say played a vital role along with David Headley (also arrested by the FBI in Chicago) in the 26/11 attacks. During Rana’s visit, Naseer played a vital role in helping set up a fake job agency. In turn Rana helped Naseer and his brother-in-law Shafas get out of Kerala. The IB says that they had information that the duo had slipped into Bangladesh and were directed to lie low before undertaking further operations.

One handler three names four countries

The arrests in the United States of America and also at Italy have thrown up a whole new angle to the Mumbai 26/11 plot. Investigations by the National Investigating Agency has made it clear that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which plotted and executed the 26/11 attack had not only used Indian and Pakistani modules to carry out the attacks, but had also accessed its modules across the continent to undertake the 26/11 carnage.

An interesting detail that has cropped up during the investigation is that there was one person who played a major role in coordinating the entire attack on Mumbai. The FBI and the Italian police have termed this man as Sajid Mir, the Indian police as Abu-al-Qama while the Pakistan authorities who have arrested this man call him Zarar Shah.

It is now clear that this man Mir alias Qama alias Shah is the most vital link to the entire Mumbai carnage as he would be able to tell in detail as how he managed to coordinate forces in the US, Italy, India and Pakistan to undertake an attack of such a large nature.

Mir according to the intelligence bureau has been in the Lashkar for nearly 15 years. The closest aide of Lashkar boss, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, this man is a professional with computers and has been largely responsible for setting up the tech division of the Lashkar. He was made in charge of the Lashkar tech cell in the year 2002 and since then he has not only become a high ranking cadre in the Lashkar but also a trusted commandant of the ISI in Pakistan.

Looking at his skills in computer education and the manner in which he was able to coordinate cadres between various countries, he was promoted to the position of trans-continental head of the Lashkar in the year 2005. It was from here that his journey began into planning the Mumbai attack. Almost single handedly he oversaw transaction of funds and also kept in touch with operatives such as Headley, Rana, the Italian duo and also Sabahuddin and Fahim Ansari every time they were executing something relating to the Mumbai attack.

IB sources told rediff.com that being the trans continental head of the Lashkar it was his responsibility to coordinate with these cadres from across the globe. Working purely on a need to know basis, this man ensured that none of the opereatives from other countries were even aware of what the other was doing. While he sent out Sabahuddin to appoint Fahim Ansari to draw out the maps, he simultaneously told both Headley and Rana to conduct reccees in Mumbai. The interesting fact is that even Sabahuddin or Ansari were aware of the fact that two other persons from Canada and Chicago were carry out a similar operation on the ground. While Ansari prepared the initial maps of the targets and sent it across to Pakistan, Headley and Rana did a finer analysis of the same.

Mir had instructed both Rana and Headley on the basis of the information provided by Ansari to do a finer analysis of the targets. Based on the information made available by Ansari, Headley and Rana went ahead and prepared finer sketches of the targets and also shot videos of the same. Apart from this Mir also coordinated with modules in other parts of Europe and ensured that a large part of the financial transactions came in from that part of the world in order to carry out the Mumbai attack.

IB sources say that it was Mir’s idea to ensure that the Lashkar becomes a global outfit and they stamp their authority in every possible country. This is the reason why the Lashkar through Headley thought of targeting Denmark, a country which otherwise would fall under the jurisdiction of the Al-Qaeda. Mir apart from overseeing operations of the Lashkar in other countries has also been told specifically by the ISI to coordinate with the Al-Qaeda since they want to see the two outfits merging in order to spread global terror together.

Pakistan conceal truth: In February 2008, Pakistan had claimed that it had arrested a person by the name Zarar Shah and he was facing trial. They also claimed that Shah had said that he was aware of who Ajmal Kasab and the rest were. However Pakistan has been extremely suspicious in its behavior where this man is concerned. A request by the US officials to interrogate Shah was denied by Pakistan authorities at the behest of the ISI. Information now trickling in from the IB and investigating agencies would suggest that the Zarar Shah who has been arrested by Pakistan is fake and he actually is a very low level operative of the Lashkar who goes by the real name, Abu Wajid. The IB says that through the Interpol a red corner alert has been sounded against this man. Moreover Indian authorities have made requests to provide his photograph which has been denied lest the truth comes out.

The IB says protecting the identity of Mir alias Qama alias Shah is of utmost importance for the Pakistan based ISI. He hold the key to extremely crucial details of the ISI’s role in spreading global jihad and he will also be a one stop information for the international contacts of both the Lashkar and also the ISI.

Sources say that pinning down this man would be crucial since he will be able to piece together the exact details of the entire Mumbai carnage and also how the international jihad factories played a role in excercising this horrific attack.

How Indian intel sleuths goofed up on Headley

The Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing are downplaying their team’s failure to meet David Headley, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative currently in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s custody.
Agents from India’s domestic and external intelligence agencies traveled to the US recently to interrogate Headley, who the FBI arrested last month and charged with being part of a Lashkar conspiracy to spread terror in the United States, Denmark and India.

An agent, who was part of the joint IB-R&AW team, told rediff.com that a local court had turned down their plea to meet the Pakistani-American.

“In the United States, it is important to obtain the court’s permission before interrogating anyone on its soil,” the agent said, requesting that his name not be mentioned in this report.

An application was filed before a local court, but it was rejected, he added. “We were unable to convince the court that we had sufficient grounds to interrogate Headley.”

When asked why the team had traveled to the US without completing the groundwork, the agent said IB and R&AW officials had communicated the team’s agenda to the FBI who had given them the go-ahead to interrogate Headley.

“But Headley was in judicial custody and we needed the court’s permission to question him. We would have had no problems had he been in police custody,” the agent added.

A FBI team will visit India next week to investigate Headley’s links with the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

Investigating teams have fanned out to the cities and towns that were on Headley’s terror radar as revealed by the FBI probe. These teams have been told to trace Headley’s activities diligently and gather information about his plans.