13/7: MoH seeks report on militant meeting Laden



New Delhi: The Home Ministry on Thursday sought a report from the Maharashtra Police on the claim that an arrested accused of the 13/7 Mumbai blasts case had met al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2001.

"We have taken serious note of the claim. We have sought a report from Maharashtra as we want to know details of the case," a Home Ministry official said.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) sources claimed that Haroon Naik, an arrested accused in the Mumbai triple blasts, met Osama bin Laden in Pakistan just a month before the 9/11 attack on US and was sent to Kandahar in Afghanistan for additional training of 40 days.

The claim by the ATS establishes a possible link for the first time by a terrorist from India with the slain al Qaeda leader.

Besides being present at an "inspirational" lecture by bin Laden, Rashid had also met Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the sources had said.

35-year-old Naik, who is in ATS custody since February 1 in connection with the blast case, was nabbed from the Mumbai international airport on August 22 last year on the charge of possessing fake currency notes and has been lodged in a jail since then.

PTI