IB says no proof of local link to 26/11

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | February 16, 2009 15:28 IST

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Mumbai [Images] Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor may have been 'confused' when he spoke about local involvement in the 26/11 terror strikes on February 12 -- he later retracted his comments -- but Intelligence Bureau agents say barring Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, no direct local link to the terror attacks has emerged so far.

Several people may have had knowledge about the attacks, the IB sources said, but were not directly involved.

IB sources said the interrogation of Sami Ahmed alias Abdul Rehman, a Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] operative who was arrested by the Karnataka police in Gulbarga in 2006, could provide vital information.

Sami Ahmed recruited Fahim Ansari. IB sources said operatives like Imran Sheikh, a Mumbai native who was arrested in connection with the attack on the January 1, 2008 attack on the Central Reserve Police camp in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh [Images], may have been aware of events but had no direct involvement.

The security agencies are currently on the lookout for Taj Ahmed and Bada Rehman who hail from Jogeshwari and Goregaon in Mumbai's northwestern suburbs respectively.

Taj Ahmed and Bada Rehman, the IB sources say, were recruited by Sami Ahmed along with Ansari, and were assigned the task of assisting with the Mumbai attacks. Following Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed's arrests, both men went underground.

The only local angle to the Mumbai attacks that has emerged so far is that the Lashkar's Mumbai and Kolkata modules arranged accommodation and SIM cards. Since the Lashkar modules operate on a strict need to know basis, the IB sources said members of the its Kolkata and Mumbai cells are unlikely to be aware about the true dimensions of the Mumbai attacks.