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Indian links to 26/11 get more puzzling

February 03, 2010 13:04 IST

Barely two days after the Indian intelligence agencies managed to track the mystery voice in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks-control room speaking in an Indian accent, confusion has arisen whether '26/11 handler' Syed Zabiuddin and another Indian link to the terror strike Abu Jundal are the same person.

While the fact of the matter is that both these persons are of Indian origin, Indian intelligence agencies maintain that both are different and are in no way the same person.

This would mean that there were two persons in the control room or associated with the 26/11 attacks, who are of Indian origin.

Intelligence Bureau sources told that both Jundal and Zabiuddin had different roles to play during the 26/11 attacks. While Jundal was involved in accent training, Zabiuddin largely focused on logistics and also played a major role in the control room on that dreaded night.

Jundal hails from Hyderabad and has been missing since the past 15 years. He has been managing the terror recruitments from across the border since that time. The last that was heard of him was that Jundal was present at a camp of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba at Murdike in Pakistan.

Jundal converses with a strong Hyderabadi accent and he was told by the Lashkar to train the gunmen to speak in Indian style at the time of the attacks.

Jundal is believed to have imparted accent training to the gunmen for 15 days. The basic idea was to ensure that in the runup to the attacks, if any of the gunmen had encountered with a member of the public, they would have to converse with them in an Indian accent so that there would not be any doubt regarding their origin.

Jundal's role in 26/11 attacks was restricted to accent training, IB official say. However, nabbing him would be of great help since he could give more details regarding the other members of the Indian community, who were present in the planning and execution of the attacks.

However, both the Hyderabad police and the IB say that Jundal is not the real name of the man and he operates under various aliases. The police say that apart from his role in the 26/11 attacks, he was also instrumental in recruiting cadres for the Indian Mujahideen with his Hyderabad contacts.

Zabiuddin, on the other hand, is very much from Maharashtra and it was his expertise with the logistics of the city which got him into the 26/11-control room.

The manner in which he and Jundal speak are completely different, and the former has a very strong Mumbai accent. The transcripts of the conversations between him and the Nariman House attackers are proof of this fact.

Zabiuddin hails from a village called Gervai in Beed district of Maharashtra and had spent most of his time dealing with the terror cadres in Uttar Pradesh before fleeing to Pakistan, the IB says.

The IB further says that there could be many more persons of Indian origin who were present during the planning and execution of the 26/11 attacks, and only further probing would give a clearer picture on the same.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru