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The Rediff Special/ Vaihayasi P Daniel in Mumbai
Neighbour confirms eyewitness's US story
January 16, 2009
He is also a neighbour to Anita Rajendra Udiyar, who runs a scrap shop and has been in the news this week for her alleged trip abroad to give evidence, since she witnessed the terrorists's landing in the city that November evening.
Nair vouches for Udiyar's story. He says he is 100 per cent sure she went abroad because she was to be presented as a witness to give legitimacy to India's claims about the 26/11 attacks:
I know her for 30 years. I have been living here for that long. For at least 12 years of that time this basti (little locality) has been under my charge. I am the chairman of this area and I give them all kinds of help.
She had been in talks with certain officers for some time. She had been called to give a statement. They asked her if she can come and identify the dead bodies. She started telling me about 20 days ago that I may have to go out of the country. My passport is ready. My medical is done. Some big officers are going to take me (so she can give evidence). I told her that is a great thing. You are going for the country. So don't be scared. We will support you.
On Saturday (January 10) she was supposed to leave from here (to go abroad) at 9 or 10 o'clock. And a phone came for her at five from one of the big sahibs. When she met me around that time she started crying. I brought her here (into his home a few doors away) and explained to her: 'You have already done such a big kaam (job) and you have supported the country. You have done seva (service). For Bharat you will have to go'. I had to counsel her quite a bit. She kept crying that she feels scared.
At first there were six witnesses from this Machimar colony. They were finally excluded (from the investigation) because their statements failed. So she became the sole eyewitness (from here) for the police... yes, the Indian police.
This matter is being handled at a high level and I cannot tell you who. And she is not willing to tell me because it is being kept a secret. She has been told to not leak much bahar (outside) or there will be problems for you.
The six had been giving their statements in the police commissioner's office. Actually later it turned out that some of them had not seen anything.
But she was sitting right there and the boat came right there. She saw them get off the boat. She was sitting outside. She is always sitting outside because she has a shop.
Her dogs started barking a lot. And behind them one more dog of the area. Usually only one of her dogs barks, but when both started barking she wondered and asked them (the terrorists) 'Who are you? What do you want? Where have you come from?' They told her, 'You do your own work'. She got further doubts. And she saw their faces.
She got a very good look at them -- their clothes especially, their faces, their hats, their cutting (hairstyles). She got that all right. She had the right details. She was more exact.
They (the six witnesses) would go together to the commissioner's office. But on the last day (Saturday January 10) when the officer called her, they called her alone. It was not the Cuffe Parade police station that was in touch with here. She had gotten support from the office of the Mumbai commissioner, the crime branch. They were in touch with her. They are now hiding it because it will be a problem for them.
Then they told her that they wanted her to go out of the country to meet a team in America as a witness. They were a high-level team and I cannot tell you who. They wanted to take to her to give yakeen (belief) to the people abroad (that such events had happened in Mumbai). She was an eyewitness and they wanted to present her there. So that those people would have bharosa (faith in the results of India's investigation).
The team who took her has her passport. The officers made her passport. When they take people in secret they do not give them their passports or there will be some leakage.
She had told me that they would take her at 10 pm on Saturday, so all of us, the team were with her -- just to see who these persons were, to maybe take their cards. I thought let me at least see their faces. If something happens to her people will come asking us. Even the Cuffe Parade police station can ask us.
But they did not come at 10 o'clock. But someone phoned the newswallahs so from 10 o'clock these news people were in her house to see who would take her. The team, who was planning to take her saw the newswallahs, and did not come near. They wanted to take her in secret. Instead at 5.15 am on Sunday, when she went to the bathroom, she left and no one set eyes on her after that.
But that secret agency took her away and in the same way they brought her back.
(His wife Ranjana interjects: 'She came back wearing the same clothes left in.')
I am 100 per cent sure she went abroad.
(His wife again interjects: 'Yes she gave us all the details. That she had to change her clothes. And that she covered her face. She said she gave her statement to a Negro judge. She said she didn't like the strange kind of leafy food there -- something like Chinese -- that she got to eat and how she told them that she is a fish curry and rice eater. Would that all be a lie? She has gone there and that is why she knows all this. And they also told her not to tell anyone. And keep this a secret. And they are going to take her once more'.)
Continues Nair: There are Indian officers involved and also foreign officers. But the people who took her were American. I think they are an FBI team. She does not know which place she went to in America. She says it was a very big city. Lots of quite tall buildings. And that they kept her in a big hotel. And when she described it, it sounded like America.
They put some clothes on her and made her look like you (the reporter) so that there would not be any problem there. She went in a special plane. She sat in the plane at seven am (Sunday) and it took her 16 to 17 hours. And they kept her there for only one day. She gave a statement for two hours and they took her back to the plane and brought her back and left her at Andheri. She took a taxi because she said if she came with them people will get suspicious. But they still followed her all the way here.
That day she returned -- at 2 or 2.30 pm (Tuesday) -- the police were there and the newswallahs were there at her house. She got scared. She was not supposed to tell anyone she had gone. But because we gave a complaint everyone was there. So she said she went to the village (Satara). Actually the team had told her not to give the news to anyone because they said: 'Your life will be in danger because there are still terrorists hiding in the country. If you give your photo and too much news it could be dangerous. Keep this hidden.'
(His wife interjects: 'Her life is in danger, so the poor thing is scared.')
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