M A I N   N E W S

LeT men take refuge in maze of aliases
Slip past security on fake passports, IDs issued in Pak
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
Indian investigators are having a tough time finding their way through a maze of fake names, aliases and assumed names that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) gives to its operatives as a ploy to mask their identities from fellow terrorists and prevent international intelligence agencies from pinpointing them by a particular name.

“It is literally a “name-hopping” exercise across fake identities obtained in Pakistan. Name of a terrorist changes with each operation or whenever he is attached to a new group by his handlers,” said a senior functionary in a security agency.

“This allows operatives to escape attention and even those working on a common target won’t know each other’s real name. This means when a member of a terrorist module is nabbed by the police, he, on interrogation, will reel off names of his associates which, in reality, could be aliases, making it impossible for security agencies to link the dots,” he added.

Similar difficulties were encountered in identifying the just-arrested LeT operative Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal.

For the lone surviving 26/11 Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab, he was Abu Jundal, their Hindi teacher and the man directing them over the phone from Pakistan; for the Maharashtra Police and the Intelligence Bureau, he was Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, a man from Beed Maharashtra wanted in the May 2006 Aurangabad Arms haul case; for Saudi Arabian authorities, he was Riyasat Ali, a Pakistani from Sheikhupura, Pakistan.

In February 2010, Indian agencies conclusively identified Zabiuddin Ansari and Abu Jundal as being the same person. The Saudis were convinced by a DNA match. In fact, Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari has around 26 aliases. He even used the name “Abu Hamza” for a brief period.

Among the 26/11 planners, there was another Abu Hamza. His name was mentioned in the 14-odd dossiers India has, so far, handed over to Pakistan on the 26/11 suspects. The real name of this Abu Hamza is Mohammed Ramadhan, alias Mohammed Siddiqui.

He was the lynchpin of December 2005 terror attack on the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

On the day Jundal was arrested, the international media made use of his alias “Abu Hamza”. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik had clarified that “he is not the Abu Hamza wanted in the 26/11 probe and whose name is on the dossiers”. 

Name ‘game’

n LeT reportedly picked up the “name-hopping” tactic from Palestinian terrorist organisations that allot a life-long “kuniyat” (assumed name) to its operatives

n LeT tweaked the strategy and started allotting same “kuniyat” to more than one operative. At times, same operative is allotted more than one “kuniyat”, making identification near impossible





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