An off-the-books interrogation with 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab at his cell in Arthur Road Jail,conducted covertly by the Mumbai Police slightly over a year ago,was part of the elaborate groundwork for securing Lashkar handler Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal from Saudi Arabia,Maharashtra police sources have revealed.
Top Maharashtra Police sources said around April last year,Indian intelligence agencies had also directed the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to once again provide them a CD of the intercepts of calls between the 10 26/11 attackers and their handlers in Pakistan. Instructions were also issued to make fresh attempts at extracting information on Jundal from Kasab. Mumbai Police officers then launched a secret operation to grill Kasab in his high-security cell.
Slightly over a year ago,the R&AW asked the Crime Branch for the 26/11 intercepts again,and a CD was passed on to it from Mumbai. Instructions were also given to verify some facts with Kasab on that part of the intercepts in which Jundal is heard speaking to the gunmen at Nariman House, said an officer who did not wish to be named.
During the interrogation sessions soon after his arrest in 2008,Kasab had not revealed much about Jundal. He had mentioned the name along with those of Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and Abu Kahfa. Acting on the instructions passed on around a year ago,a secret interrogation session was once again conducted by Mumbai Police officers at Arthur Road Jail. This was completely off the books as Kasab was in judicial custody at the time. No official permission was sought for the questioning and Kasab simply verified details about the man he knew as Jundal,who could be heard in the intercepts, the officer added.
The Maharashtra ATS had simultaneously been tasked with securing a blood sample from Jundals relative in Beed for a DNA match.
Elaborating on the role played by Jundal in the 26/11 attack,Mumbai Police sources on Monday said he had not only issued instructions to the gunmen at Nariman House while the siege was on,but it was he who had told them to tie red threads around their wrists to confuse security agencies.
We suspect it was Jundal who told the 10 Pakistani gunmen to wear red threads around their wrists and that he was instrumental in organising bogus student identity cards of colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad for them. He also briefed them on how to move around South Mumbai after videos shot by David Coleman Headley were shown to them. The words Colaba,Cuffe Parade,Machlimar Nagar,Rajabai Tower,Regal Chowk,Nathalal Marg,Nariman Point,WTC,Regal Cinema were found scribbled on a diary recovered from the vessel Kuber,which was used by the terrorists to reach Mumbai, said a senior police officer,who did not wish to be named.