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US denies any role in 26/11 witness mystery

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | January 15, 2009 18:43 IST
Last Updated: January 15, 2009 21:34 IST


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The United States has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Anita Uddaiya, the star witness in the November 26 Mumbai [Images] attacks case.

Denying that the US had anything to do with her disappearance, a embassy spokesperson said: "No American agency have been involved."

Asked where she could have been taken for interrogation and by whom, the spokesperson said: "You should ask her where she went."

PTI adds:

Anita Uddaiya, the woman who saw the six terrorists involved in the November 26 terror attacks arrive in the city, claims she was taken to the United States and questioned by investigating agencies there.

"I was informed that the (US) officers who questioned me about the Mumbai attacks here earlier would take me to America. They came on Sunday morning and took me to America," Uddaiya told PTI.

"I had lied to the police when I returned home stating that I went to Satara district as the officers told me not to disclose anything about my visit to America," Uddaiya said.

Uddaiya went missing on Sunday morning and returned to Mumbai on Wednesday at around 1.30 am.

She had seen the terrorists land in a rubber dinghy on the beach at the colony. But when she asked them where they had come from, she was told to mind her own business.

Giving details, she said on Saturday at around 10.00 pm, the investigating officers were supposed to come to her home.
"Since we were informed about Uddaiya's America visit, we sat with her throughout the night waiting for the American investigators. Nobody turned up till morning 5 am. At that time, Uddaiya went to toilet from where she was whisked away by the investigators," said Madhusudhan Nair, president of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Nagar slum area.

Uddaiya said four officers were inside the posh vehicle and one of them knew Hindi.

"First, I was taken to St George Hospital to see my husband Rajendra. I told him that I would return home in a couple of days. From the hospital I was taken to airport," Uddaiya said.

"I was sitting in the airport while they (officers) were showing documents to the officials at the airport. I had no luggage with me. After sometime, I boarded the flight but I was feeling uncomfortable," Uddaiya recalled.

Uddaiya, who spent 17-18 hours in her flight to the US, said she was told they were heading to America.

"I could not eat in the flight properly as they were serving chocolates, sandwiches and some other stuff. I don't know how I managed to eat that food."

"I was taken to a posh hotel in a car soon after I landed in America. After a couple of hours, we all went to a building where I was asked several questions about the terrorists and Mumbai attacks," she said.

She said she was asked about the terrorists whom she had seen landing at Mumbai.

"The questions were translated in Hindi by one of them and whatever answers I had given were also explained to them in English. Everything was over in two to three hours. I even called Hamid Qureshi (a scrap dealer where she works in Mumbai) telling him I am safe," she said, adding that she was taken to the hotel subsequently and then to the airport to board a flight back to Mumbai.

On returning home in a taxi from Mumbai airport, Uddaiya said she was confused and surprised at what was happening around her.  She said she was taken to the Cuffe Parade police station for recording her statement.

After the Mumbai attacks, Uddaiya had also been shown pictures of ten terrorists but she was not taken to J J Hospital to identify the bodies of the terrorists, she said.

"Since I was unwilling to do so, the Mumbai police did not take me to J J hospital," she said.

Uddaiya, who deals in scrap, had been living with her husband, daughter and son in the colony of Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai.






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