The interrogation of terror operative Abu Jundal has shed more light on the LeT's plans and the IM's operations. Vicky Nanjappa reports
Abu Jundal, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative recently extradited from Saudi Arabia, has shared crucial information about the LeT's future plans and how the Mumbai terror attack was planned. But Jundal, who was a handler during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, has clammed up when interrogated about terror operatives Tawwahur Rana, the Bhatkal brothers and Dawood Ibrahim
Tawwahur Rana: He was acquitted by an US court on charges related to 26/11. The appeal against his acquittal is taking its own time. Investigators had hoped that Jundal would provide them enough information to nail Rana. But Jundal has told his interrogators that he didn't know Rana.
When questioned about the role played by Rana in planning the attack, Jundal claimed that he had never heard of the Pakistani-American. Officials point out that Rana was never directly involved, as he had merely facilitated LeT operative David Headley's travel to India.
David Headley: Jundal has revealed that he was aware of the operations undertaken by Headley. Jundal had met Headley at the LeT's Shawai Nala camp, which specialises In Kashmir related activities.
Jundal has said that he didn't interact much with Headley but knew about the crucial role he was supposed to play in 26/11. The information he had given to the LeT regarding the strike targets were passed on to Headley, who finally conducted a reconnaissance of these locations.
LeT's plans: Jundal claimed that the Lashkar wanted to carry out a major attack on the Nashik police academy. The LeT had set up its modules in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and south India. Acting on the information provided by Jundal, security agencies have already started a major operation to fish out those operatives who form these modules.
The LeT had planned the fidayeen attack on the Nashik police academy as a retaliatory act, says Jundal, as both the terror outfit and the Inter Services Intelligence believe that Indian agencies had carried out an attack in a police academy in Pakistan. The LeT and the ISI both resent India's "undue interference" in Pakistan's affairs and want to carry out a retaliatory strike.
The Aurangabad arms haul: Jundal doesn't have too much new information to share about this case. He has refused to take the entire blame for the operation and claimed that it was the brainchild of his mentor Zulfikar Kagzi. Jundal has stated that Kagzi was a crucial operative of the LeT as he could plan major operations. He has revealed the manner in which the weaponry was procured and also the LeT's plans to use it for bigger attacks on the Indian soil. Jundal has insisted that he was only carrying out instructions given to him by Kagzi.
After Jundal informed the police that Kagzi was holed up in Jeddah, Indian agencies have started their manoeuvres in diplomatic circles to secure his extradition.
The 26/11 attack: Jundal has already spoken in length about the role of the ISI in planning the attack, the control room set up in Pakistan and the involvement of Sajid Mir. While Jundal has not been very clear on whether Mir is an ISI officer, he has stated that the latter handled Headley. Mir gave instructions to Headley and provided him the requisite information.
The Indian Mujahideen: Jundal told the police that the Lashkar was planning to revamp its Indian agency, the Indian Mujahideen, but added that he had never met the Bhatkal brothers. He has said that the IM is directionless and there is too much emphasis on its operatives in India. The IM was setting up modules in India with the help of its Saudi Arabian modules, said Jundal, adding that he had played a crucial role in the IM's operations as he believed in having a strong home grown outfit.
Jundal had never met the Bhatkal brothers, who are the lynchpin of the IM. His job was specific -- he had to mobilise people and raise funds from Saudi Arabia. The terror modules he was helping to set up in India could be used by both the IM and the LeT.
Dawood Ibrahim: Jundal has maintained that he has never met or spoken with the underworld don. He indicated that there was never any need to interact with Dawood or his men since the Lashkar and the D-gang do not work hand-in-hand. Jundal claimed that he did not know anything about Dawood's gang funding terror operations. The ISI deals with the operations of the D Gang and keeps it separate from those of the LeT.
Dawood is a criminal and does not have an ideology, according to US intelligence inputs, and he may even sell out the secrets of LeT for the right price.
Jundal's prosecution will be a long-winded process. The police need to chargesheet him on the basis of his interrogation report and their investigation. He will be in the custody of the Maharashtra police till July 31 and they will probe his involvement in the Nashik and Aurangabad cases. But the most important information he can provide the investigators will be about the LeT's future plans of destruction.