Saturday, December 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India




National Capital Region--Delhi

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Arrest Lashkar & Jaish leaders, India tells Pak
Major breakthrough in attack case
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
Security and intelligence agencies have achieved “silent breakthroughs” in yesterday’s terrorist attack on Parliament and are confident of unravelling the entire conspiracy within the next 48 hours.

Well-placed sources here today said there was no evidence yet to link Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida’ terrorist network to yesterday’s attack, though the involvement of some Afghanistani outfits cannot be ruled out.

Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba today denied involvement in the terrorist attack on Parliament and said the Indian Government was making “false and baseless” claims about acquiring technical evidence to prove its complicity in the attack.

The breakthroughs are understood to have been made with regard to the identity of the five terrorists killed inside Parliament House yesterday and their linkages in Pakistan. Well-placed sources here told “The Tribune” today that interesting leads had surfaced following detention of a dozen-odd men from Delhi, including two Pakistanis and two Afghanis.

The information gleaned by the agencies thus far is being consolidated and the case is likely to be cracked open within 48 hours, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Vajpayee government today took a significant diplomatic step in building up a case against Pakistan in the December 13 attack on Parliament when Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer gave a verbal “demarche” to Pakistan High Commissioner here Ashraf Jahangir Qazi. The “demarche” (a political step or initiative) makes the folowing three demands from Pakistan:

(i) Stop activities of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan.

(ii) Take their leadership, which is well known to Pakistan, into custody.

(iii) Freeze their financial assets and stop their access to financial assets.

Jaswant Singh
Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh holds a news conference in New Delhi on Friday. — Reuters photo

According to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, India is in possession of “technical evidence” to prove that the attack on Parliament was the handiwork of a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan, namely the Lashkar-e-Toiba. As per the spokesperson of the MEA, the “demarche”, given verbally to the Pakistani envoy at a brief meeting this afternoon, was made “in accordance with international obligations and commitments on countering terrorism.”

Sources said the “technical evidence” which Mr Jaswant Singh talked about nailed down the LeT as Indian agencies had got incontrovertible evidence linking this outfit to the attack on Parliament.

The Indian agencies have intercepted wireless messages from LeT commanders in Pakistan to their cadres in Jammu and Kashmir asking them not to own responsibility for the Parliament attack. Besides, the five mobile phones recovered from the five killed terrorists also tell “interesting tales” about their linkages, sources said.
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Two Pakistanis detained
They had plans to go to Canada, USA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
A team of senior intelligence and security officers were today interrogating two Pakistani nationals who were picked up from the Ambassador Hotel early this morning during extensive raids in the wake of Thursday’s terrorist attack on Parliament.

The two, Mohammed Shafiq and Feroze Durrani, were taken into custody from Room No 206 of the hotel, hours before they were scheduled to fly out of the country — one to Toronto in Canada and the other to Atlanta in the USA.

Besides these two, the police also picked up 14 other suspects and were also questioning them to unravel the meticulously planned conspiracy that culminated in a bloody gun battle in the hallowed precincts of Parliament.

Sources also claimed that four persons, who apparently were part of the network, were taken into custody in Jammu and Kashmir and were being flown into the Capital for further interrogation. Sources in the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, which is officially handling the case, said while four persons were picked up for questioning from New Friends Colony, four from Nizamuddin, four from Adarsh Nagar in the Capital, two others were taken into custody in Rajasthan where simultaneous investigations are continuing.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the five terrorists who were killed in the exchange of fire had planned to trigger off a massive explosion and in the ensuing confusion gain access to the Central Hall of Parliament and hold the Ministers and MPs as hostages.

The intelligence and security agencies were maintaining a close liaison with the police forces of the neighbouring states and Jammu and Kashmir to establish the identity of the slain terrorists as some of the documents in Arabic recovered from them had addresses of Shopian and Baramula in Jammu and Kashmir.

The intelligence agencies have also activated their “friendly liaisons” with the intelligence agencies of other countries including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the USA, which has accumulated a huge data bank of terrorist organisations and their cadres.

In addition to this, the police claimed to have recovered five mobile telephone handsets, which were found strapped to the bodies of the terrorists. The police were in touch with the mobile service providers in their attempts to get printouts of the calls made and received. They were also in touch with the Military Intelligence (MI), which normally monitors all communication traffic from across the border.Back

 

Shopkeeper provided vital clues
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
An eyewitness, Deepak Chawla, who runs a departmental store inside the premises of Ambassador Hotel, from where the two alleged Pakistani nationals were picked up by the intelligence and Delhi Police Special Cell, said during the last two days, one of the two made visits to his shop to make ISD calls to Canada and Pakistan.

He said, a short man 5’- 7”, fair and tough-built, clad in a blue sweeter with thin white stripes, made a call on Wednesday morning and again on Thursday. He told his taxi-driver to sleep till 2 p.m, as he was to leave for the airport at 2.30 pm. The officials immediately gave a wireless message to the airport.
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