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Man held 2-yrs ago could be key to 26/11 local links

A key person in the search for the local links to the 26/11 attacks could be Sami Ahmed alias Abdullah alias Abdul Rehman alias Ajmal Khatab...

Johnson T A & Sagnik Chowdhurybangalore/mumbai |
December 27, 2008 9:30:12 am

A key person in the search for the local links to the 26/11 attacks could be Sami Ahmed alias Abdullah alias Abdul Rehman alias Ajmal Khatab, a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative arrested in Gulbarga in Karnataka in 2006.

Originally from Hyderabad, Sami Ahmed is believed to have undergone extensive training in LeT camps in Pakistan. He was given the alias Ajmal Khatab and was reportedly tasked with carrying out operations in Andhra Pradesh.

According to sources, Ahmed subsequently helped recruit many youth from Mumbai, including Fahim Ansari, who is currently being investigated for prior knowledge of the attacks in Mumbai. The recruited youth were sent to Pakistan for training.

Many from the Mumbai module created with the help of Ahmed, like Ansari, have been arrested in the course of investigations, such as into the attack on the Rampur CRPF camp. However, two of its key men — Taj Ahmed Shah, a resident of Jogeshwari, and Bada Rehman, a resident of Goregaon — remain untraced.

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Sources said Taj Ahmed and Bada Rehman, along with Ansari, were tasked with attacking Mumbai. Ansari was arrested in February this year while he was trying to obtain weapons in Nepal, after identifying key targets in Mumbai.

Sabahauddin, an LeT commander for the Nepal region, was given the job of providing Ansari weapons and men for an attack in Mumbai. Sabahuddin is an accused in the 2006 December attack at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and was arrested in February in the course of the Rampur attack investigation.

While Sabahuddin, Ansari and other associates like Mohammed Imran Sheikh — also linked to the CRPF camp attack — have been in judicial custody for 11 months, officials believe that the missing members of the Mumbai module could be key to determining local links to the 26/11 attack.

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In fact, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch is planning to seek the custody of Imran Sheikh alias Chhota Imran within the next few days. Sabahuddin and Ansari are already in its custody. Imran is originally from Laxmi Nagar in Mumbai’s Goregaon area.

Investigations have revealed that it was Imran who had first noticed Ansari’s jehadi leanings and introduced him to Sami Ahmed.

“Imran’s custody is required to probe the local complicity and their recruitment process,” said a police source who did not wish to be named.

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According to Ansari’s interrogation report, which The Indian Express is in possession of, after passing his SSC examination from an Urdu-medium municipal school in Malad, he worked for a while in his brother’s envelope making factory and then as a driver at a call centre in the city. In June 2005, Ansari took up a job at the Al Bilad Printing Press in Dubai, where one of his elder brothers, Usman, worked.

The report says: “Since my childhood, I was a person of extreme mindset. Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is my hero… After my first return from Dubai, one Imran alias Chhota Imran alias Mohammed Imran Sheikh ( a distant relative) introduced me to one Abdullah alias Sami Ahmed in a restaurant in Goregaon area in October 2005.”

Ansari states that after he expressed his desire to undergo training in Pakistan, Ahmed took down Usman’s number and passed it on to someone in Pakistan. He asked Ansari to work in Dubai till the finalisation of his journey and training schedule.

Ansari says Ahmed also taught him how to use the Internet and helped get a visa issued for him from Dubai.

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First published on: 27-12-2008 at 09:30:12 am

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