While the 26/11 attack was the biggest attack ever on Indian soil till date, the investigations that followed were nothing short of shoddy, hurried and based on the confessional statement of the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab. Now with Abu Jundal in custody it would Indian agencies probing him would do well to rectify certain damages and get some questions answered which have intentionally been left a mystery thanks to hurried and lazy investigation which was conducted immediately after the attack.
Abu Jundal has revealed a lot say the police. He has taken the names of the key planners, revealed the role played by the ISI and Hafiz Saeed etc. However the question is what is so very new in these revealations and what is it that has not been in the public domain? Experts and very few police personnel feel that the focus was all about nailing the Pakistan lie. While this is of paramount importance, what we must understand is that Pakistan is not going to admit its role. While the Indian agencies should continue to dish more proof against the role of Pakistan, what would also be important is finding out the truth behind the 26/11 attack, getting some questions answered and also ensuring that no such attacks should take place in the future.
Comparing the profiles of Ajmal Kasab and Abu Jundal it is obvious that the latter is a much bigger fry in the circles of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Unlike Jundal, Kasab has very limited information which pertains to the final stages of the attack. Jundal on the other hand was part of the core team which was involved right from the planning to execution stage. Moreover he was the one who had access to the control room which was guarded by the Pakistani establishment and hence he would be the better person who could explain the entire episode better.
In the 26/11 probe there are many unanswered questions that continue to remain unanswered. The Indian agencies which are probing the case would do well to get them answered. There has been a lurking doubt over the number of Indians who were behind this attack. At first the police maintained that only Sabahuddin and Fahim Ansari were the Indians, but after their acquittal they never were able to find any Indian link. Now Pakistan too has made a claim that there were at least 40 Indians involved in the attack. While this claim is very far fetched, India would still need to find out if Jundal had roped in more Indians along with him for the attack.
Jundal is a very smart operative and will continue to feed the Indian agencies what they already know. He is a trained operative who will harp on the same points in various different ways and the Indian investigators continue to pull out information which is already known to them.
The other big question that the agencies are refusing to probe is regarding the number of men who were actually present during the day of the attack. The first reports which came out hours after the attack was there were more than ten men and the police since day one have maintained that there were not more than ten men on that day of the attack. Jundal during his interrogation stated that there were more than ten men who were roped in for the attack, but a couple of them dropped out. Kasab on the other hand had initially said that there were 30 men roped in for the attack and at the end of it 16 of them were chosen to carry out the attack. The lurking doubt arises over the last minute insertion of Abu Islamil who the Kasab’s buddy pair during the attack. Kasab says that the buddy pairs were chosen on the basis of the proximity between the two persons so that they would coordinate better during the attack. However during the earlier part of the investigation it was found that Ismail had met Kasab only two months prior to the attack and this sort of negates the claim made by Kasab that they were close to each other and had known each other for a long period of time. The other issue that raised a doubt was the count of blankets that the police had put out during the initial part of the investigation. It showed that there were 16 blankets that were carried.
The other angle that was never probed deep was the presence of a lady during the attack at the Cama hospital. Immediately after the attack a lady at the hospital told the police that there was a lady who was alongside these terrorists who shot at her. The other claim is by a taxi driver who had said that there were two men in his taxi that night who were conversing in Pashtun. Now these two men never appeared on the scene during the investigation and the angle was left not probed by the police. A day after the attack the ATS had claimed that it had found IEDs at the Victorial terminus and looking at the kind of quantity that they were talking about it became impossible that only ten men could have carried so much ammunition on them and later run around the city firing with a 25 kilogram machine gun.
It would have been expecting too much out of Kasab to give all the possible information on such a big attack. It is common knowledge that these terrorist groups works on a need to know basis. The ideologies behind the attack and also the involvement of state players is not something Kasab would have been well aware of since he was a criminal to start off with. These are kind of operatives who could well open their mouth if offered money. During the earlier days of his probe he had even told the police that if they gave him money he would launch a similar attack on Pakistan as well, which goes on to show the mind set of this person.
Jundal on the other hand is an ideological terrorist. He has had more access to the working of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba when compared to Kasab. He would be the right person to answer these questions as he was with the core team planning the attack since day one. He was the Indian face to the attack and he would be the one best to tell the Indian agencies about more Indian faces who took part in the attack. Officers part of the investigation say that currently they want to nail the lie being told by Pakistan and later on they would get into the other details that remain a mystery. However will the agencies tell the public more than what is already known? It appears to be doubtful since this probe has taken many a twist in the past and another turn would only mean we find ourselves in an embarrassing situation like we did when the David Headley revelation came out in the open.