M A I N   N E W S

ISI hand in 7/11 blasts
*11 Pakistanis involved, says Mumbai police chief
*Operation carried out by Lashkar with SIMI help
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 30
Claiming to have cracked the July 11 train blasts case, the Mumbai police lays the blame on Pakistan's ISI and several other organisations like the Students Islamic Organisation of India and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Mumbai's police Commissioner A N Roy told reporters today that the blasts were masterminded by the ISI and carried out by LeT with assistance from SIMI. The direct involvement of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida has been ruled out.

Mr Roy stated that the bombs were in the form of RDX and other explosives packed in pressure cookers concealed in the luggage left in trains carrying rush-hour commuters.

According to the police chief 12 of the 23 persons arrested so far have been directly involved in carrying out the blasts. According to Mr Roy 11 Pakistani nationals were involved in carrying out these blasts.

They arrived in Mumbai in batches. The bombers were trained at Bawalpur in Pakistan and the actual conspiracy to carry out the blasts was hatched in Mumbai itself.

According to Mr Roy, the main conspirators were Faizal Sheikh, Kamaluddin Ansari, Ehtasham Siddiqui, General Secretary of SIMI, Maharashtra. Three co-conspirators are said to be absconding and a hunt is on for them, Mr Roy said.

Explaining the modus operandi of the bombers, Mr Roy said the Pakistanis arrived in Mumbai in different batches. Two of them came via Nepal while others did via Bangladesh and Gujarat. Their accommodation in the city was arranged by Sheikh in different parts of Mumbai. While some of them

were kept in a flat at Malad in North Mumbai, four of them stayed at a flat in Bandra.

Mr Roy said between 15 and 20 kg of RDX was used in the blasts. The explosive was brought from Pakistan by a man called Ehsanullah, according to the police chief. Ammonium nitrate, which was also used in IED, was sourced locally.

Mr Roy said the bombs were assembled by one Mohammad Ali, one of the Mumbai-based conspirators, between July 8 and 10. The bombs were rigged together at a flat in Chembur. In all eight five-litre pressure cookers of the brand name Kanchan bought from local shops were used to case the

RDX. These were then stored at Faizal's Bandra flat.

Each bomb had about 2.5 kg of RDX and 4 kg of ammonium nitrate.

The bombers were divided into teams of two comprising one Pakistani and an Indian and the bombs were taken to railway stations in taxis before being placed inside various train compartments on the Western Railway suburban network.

Mr Roy said all the bombs were fitted with quartz timers and most of the bombers got off the trains before the bombs exploded. Only one of the bombers could not get off and died in the blasts between Khar and Bandra stations. The body of the man, identified as Saleem from Lahore, was not claimed.

Explaining the detection work, Roy said it was a "professional, precise and well-planned operation." Investigators got their first clue when a phone call from Navi Mumbai to a place along the Indo-Nepal border was tapped. Subsequently prime suspect Kamaluddin Ansari was arrested from Madhubani in Bihar.

Mr Roy said all the arrested men were subjected to narco-analysis tests which helped investigators piece together the modus operandi of the blasts. "All of them were trained in Pakistan and received huge sums of money for the operation," Mr Roy said. He added that Faizal Sheikh confessed to having received around Rs 60 lakh from Pakistan in the past few years.



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