Ansari stonewalls queries on ISI role

Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal has not yet said a word about ISI’s precise role

Written by PranabDhalSamanta | New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2012 2:03 am

Despite about 10 days of intense questioning,Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal,who was reportedly present in the Karachi control room directing the 26/11 attacks,has not yet said a word about ISI’s precise role or identified any of their officials to amplify the Pakistan state’s direct role.

He has flatly denied knowledge about Major Sameer Ali or Major Iqbal,the two ISI officials named by David Coleman Headley during his interrogation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). These men were crucial to the execution of the whole plan and were the ones handling Headley.

Ansari has maintained that he neither knew nor heard about these ISI or military officials. Sources familiar with the questioning said he does,at times,nod in agreement when pressed about ISI’s role in promoting jehad against India,but refuses to get into specifics.

The other issue that has perplexed investigators is that Ansari claims to have no knowledge about terrorist attacks after 26/11 — from the 2010 German Bakery attack in Pune to the blasts in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House last year.

Intelligence agencies are of the view that Ansari definitely knows more because he was in touch with the likes of Adil alias Ajmal,who was nabbed in connection with the attack on foreign tourists near Jama Masjid during the Commonwealth Games. When pressed with repeated questions on the Bhatkal brothers and other Indian terrorists in Pakistan,he gets evasive and,at times,stays silent.

However,on the Mumbai attacks,Ansari speaks at great length without letting out “fresh information” of the kind investigators are looking for. According to sources,some officials feel that Ansari is waiting to be moved out of police remand and put under judicial custody.

Meanwhile,investigators are confident that Ansari knows much more about the Pakistan state’s direct role and,in due course,interrogators will get him to divulge these details. Until then,it’s long hours of questioning interspersed with a fair amount of ideological sermonising from the accused.

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