Officials of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) have made a request to interrogate two militants arrested earlier by the Uttar Pradesh Police and questioned by Mumbai Police in connection with the 26/11 terror strikes.
The FBI made the request through proper channels for questioning Fahim Arshad Ansari and Sabbauddin,militants of banned Lashker-e-Taiba,who were brought to Mumbai in December 2008 as a follow up to the probe into the 26/11 attack,official sources said.
35-year-old Ansari had told his interrogators that he was asked by Pakistan’s ISI to identify all the terror-hit places on Googlemap.com and is believed to share the extreme mindset of Osama bin Laden,the al Qaeda chief.
He claimed to be an ardent follower of Laden and had grown a beard like the global terrorist. “After joining my job in Dubai,I also used to discuss about Jehadi activities and appreciate the actions of Osama. My co-workers called me as Osama as I was keeping a beard like him,” the militant is said to have told in his interrogation.
The FBI now wants to know whether the Mumbai terror strikes was a deep-rooted conspiracy for which planning had been done from earlier 2008. Ansari and another Lashkar militant,Sabbauddin,were arrested by central security agencies in February and April 2008 respectively.
The FBI has already questioned Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab,the lone Lashker-e-Taiba militant involved in November 26 terror strikes,for over nine hours recently to ascertain about his role and handlers in Pakistan.
Fahim was arrested on February 12 2008 in connection with the New Year eve attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. Five militants of Lashker-e-Taiba were arrested along with him.
Originally a resident of Goregaon in Mumbai,Fahim had reportedly made arrangement for all the Lashker militants to stay in the metropolis.
Fahim told the interrogators that at Baitul Mujahideen camp,located near Shivai Nallah in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir,he was shown Mumbai in the Google earth map and was asked to point out important places in Mumbai.
He marked places like offices of Mumbai Police Commissioner,Director General of Police,Gateway of India,Colaba,Tajmahal hotel,Churchgate railway station,Reliance energy and AKSA beach.
Besides this,Fahim said the Baitul Mujahideen camp commander,identified as Kahafa,was keen to know about the availability of taxis near the DGP’s office.
The camp commanders were also interested in finding out height of the airport wall,wire fencing and the location of aircraft runway from the nearest building,Fahim told his interrogators.
During their marathon nine-hour questioning,the FBI had asked Kasab all the details about his native places even including the lanes and by-lanes of the area. Kasab hails from Ukkad area of Faridkot district in Pakistan.
The 21-year-old Iman told his interrogators that he had started his career as a petty thief in Lahore,where he was staying with his brother after dropping out of school in 2000 after which he came across some Jamaat-ul-Dawa members while they were purchasing arms from a market in Rawalpindi,a moment that changed the course of his life.