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How no access to Lakhvi, Saeed impacts NIA probe

By Vicky Nanjappa
February 08, 2011 15:56 IST
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Pakistan's refusal to grant access to the masterminds in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks has come as a big blow for the National Investigating Agency.

The NIA, which has been on the trail of American terror operative David Coleman Headley, had been hoping to piece together the terror jig-saw by gaining independent access to Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, who are alleged to have masterminded the Mumbai carnage.

While investigating the case of David Headley, the NIA has so far found material relating to the man himself and his operations in India. However, in order to join the missing links the most important of them being the local angle, they needed to get access to the top brass of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Sources say that the Headley probe has come to kind of a standstill. There is a delay in the Tawahur Rana angle to the case, as there is still a cloud on whether he would make a confessional statement or not.

It was very crucial for the NIA to get hold of Rana, as he is said to be Headley's partner in crime during the 26/11 operation.

NIA sources say that during

Headley's interrogation there was hardly any information that slipped out regarding Rana and hence it became very important to wait for Rana's interrogation as well.

While the missing dots relating to the local angle of the David Headley operation are bound to come out sooner or later once the trial of Rana commences, the more important thing is the future plans of the Lashkar.

Headley, while in India, could have interacted with members of local modules and till date the investigators have not managed to track that down. In addition to this he has done some extensive surveys of various other targets in Delhi and other cities, which are very much in the possession of the Lashkar and could be used for further attacks.

The NIA was also looking to get some clarity regarding the mystery man Sajid Mir who has started to surface a lot these days. It is believed that Mir was the man who spoke to the 10 Mumbai terrorists during the attack.

There are lots of ifs and buts regarding Mir, but Pakistan has continuously denied his existence.

All eyes would now be on the Rana trial and a request will be made sooner or later to interrogate him.

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