Key 26/11 handler nabbed, admits role
New Delhi/Mumbai: In a major breakthrough in the 26/11 case, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Monday arrested an alleged LeT operative, believed to be a key handler of those Pakistani terrorists who executed the Mumbai terror attacks.
The suspect - identified as 30-year-old Abu Hamza alias Sayed Zabiuddin alias Zabi Ansari alias Abu Jindal alias Riyasat Ali – was nabbed on June 21 from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi while returning from a Gulf country, police said.
Hamza was remanded to police custody for 15 days by a Delhi court on the same day.
Meanwhile, the alleged LeT terrorist during his interrogation, admitted his active role in the 26/11 attack saying he had worked in close tandem with terror mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
Hamza confessed his role in the country's worst terror attack and admitted that he was present in the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) control room in Karachi and was giving direction to the 10 terrorists who carried out the strike.
During interrogation, Hamza gave a deep insight into the situation at 'Karachi control room' monitoring the Mumbai attack.
Hamza was one of the Pakistani handlers who was giving instructions to the 26/11 terrorists. He reportedly identified targets for the 26/11 attacks.
According to the officials associated with the probe along with five others, Hamza was present in the 'control room' set up in Pakistan and was heard instructing terrorists who were engaged in a fight with NSG commandos at Nariman house.
It was Hamza who had told Lashker terrorists to convey to the media that the "attack was a trailer and the entire movie was yet to come", they added.
Hamza’s presence was also stated by Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested during the Mumbai attack, in his deposition before a special court. Kasab had told the court that one person by the name of Abu Jindal had tutored 10 terrorists on how to speak Hindi.
Security agencies had been on the hunt for Hamza, who hails from Georai area of Beed district in Maharashtra, for more than three years.
He had managed to give a slip to the Mumbai Police when an arms consignment in Aurungabad was seized in 2006 and left for Pakistan.
The alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist, who is also linked to the Indian Mujahideen, was the Hindi tutor of 10 terrorists who carried out the audacious attack in Mumbai in November 2008.
A Mumbai court, today, issued production warrant against the suspected LeT terrorist.
India had secured an Interpol Red Corner notice against Hamza in which he was accused of crimes involving the use of weapons, explosives and terrorism.
With Hamza’s arrest, the mysterious voice recorded during the conversation between 10 LeT terrorists and their handlers in Pakistan has been identified, sources said.
The voice was that of Hamza and after this his activities were traced before he was finally nabbed in a Gulf country, according to officials.
In the intercepted tapes, Hamza was also heard using typical Hindi words like "prashasan" (government) and was directing the terrorists to conceal their Pakistani identity and identify themselves from Deccan Mujahideen hailing from Toli Chowk in Hyderabad.
Missing since 2005, Hamza, who had undergone training at Indian Technical Institute in Beed, had a sudden rise in the ranks of LeT after he was indoctrinate by banned SIMI post Gujarat riots in 2002.
The Central security agencies had quizzed many arrested terrorists to study the case of Hamza during which it came to light that he had been operating out of terror camps in Karachi and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and was a key figure in the terror group's plan to carry out the strikes in the country's hinterland.
With PTI inputs