'Abu Hamza', who has been linked to several terror strikes in the country, including the 2005 attack on the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, is dead, if the statement of 26/11 key handler Syed Zabiuddin is to be believed.
During his interrogation, a copy of which has been submitted to the Union home ministry, 30-year-old Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal said that Hamza, the main attacker of IISc, died in 2009.
Zabiuddin also claimed that he attended the funeral of Hamza, who, he said, died at the age of 39 due to mysterious illness. His real name is stated to be Mohammed Ramadhan Mohammed Siddiqui.
Mumbai Police had secured an Interpol Red Corner in 2010 when Hamza was already dead, according to the detailed interrogation of Zabiuddin who has provided a deep insight into the hierarchy of banned Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Tayiba terror outfit.
Retired professor M C Puri, Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department of Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology was killed and four others injured after unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at IISc on December 28, 2005.
The name of Hamza again came on the radar of central security agencies when Maharashtra's elite Anti Terror Squad claimed that one of the voice from Karachi-based control room for 26/11 attacks was his, a claim disputed by the deported Zabiuddin.
Zabiuddin has been facing a spate of terror charges from Delhi Police, National Investigation Agency, police forces from Maharashtra, Bangalore and Gujarat.
According to the report, Zabiuddin spoke about his association with various Lashker commanders and his meetings with the founder of the terror outfit Hafeez Saeed and their recruitment plans using cyber space.
While elaborating on his meetings with Hamza, Zabiuddin, who has been touted as very important catch by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, talked about his falling health from 2008 onwards after which he was sidelined once he provided arms training to 12 members of Lashker, including Ajmal Kasab for carrying out Mumbai attacks.
While Zabiuddin was not part of the Bangalore attack, he, however, told interrogators that Hamza had entered India through Nepal and executed the IISc attack and then escaped to Pakistan through the same porous route.
The Karnataka Police chargesheeted six persons having links with LeT in connection with the IISc attack who were convicted by a court in December last year.
However, Zabiuddin has no information about Mohammed Raza-ul-Rehman, Afzal Pasha, Mehboob Ibrahim, Miruddin Khan, Nizamuddin and Munna, who were charged with plotting the IISc attack and waging war against the country.