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Mumbai cops in US with GPS and satphone,FBI helping retrieve data

Technical experts of the FBI are examining the Global Positioning System equipment and satellite phones used by the Mumbai attackers...

Written by Shishir Gupta | New Delhi | Published: February 16, 2009 1:42:38 am

Technical experts of the FBI are examining the Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment and satellite phones used by the Mumbai attackers to retrieve information that the terrorists might have deleted before the instruments fell into the hands of Indian investigators.

A three-member team of the Mumbai Police led by Additional Commissioner Deven Bharati and including two Police Inspectors flew to the US last week with the equipment recovered from the fishing trawler Kuber,sources in South Block told The Indian Express. The team has been liaising with FBI officers at the agency’s Washington DC headquarters,and is expected to return to India by February 18.

The FBI examination of the GPS and satphone will not only help Mumbai Police recover any phone number or location details deleted by the attackers,but also help the Feds to expand the scope of their own investigation,said officials of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The FBI will also use its good offices to find out from which country,and where,the GPS and satphone were purchased,and whether they had been used in any other terrorist attack previously.

The inputs collected by Bharati will be used in the Indian charge sheet in the case. FBI officers will be named as expert witnesses.

Investigations into the whereabouts of the ship Al Hussaini,from which the attackers transferred to Kuber on way to Mumbai,are currently under way. On February 12,Islamabad claimed that Al Hussaini had capsized on the high seas some time after the attacks. The ship — owned,according to the captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab,by top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi — has had links with Dubai in the past.

Meanwhile,it is learnt that New Delhi has decided to provide the clarifications that Islamabad sought on February 12. However,Mumbai Police have,after obtaining legal opinion,told the government that the information sought by Pakistan should be given only after the charge sheet has been filed.

In the 7-8 page report of its investigations into the attacks,Pakistan has listed 20-odd points for clarifications. Among the details sought by it are:

Complete video recording and verbatim report of Kasab’s interrogation

Full details of the phones and SIMs used,and all calls made,during the attacks

Clear photographs of Kasab and the nine killed terrorists

Certified copies of DNA samples and fingerprints of the terrorists

Certified printouts of GPS and satellite phone details

Certified copies of VoIP calls made using the Callphonex network.

While New Delhi believes that Pakistan’s queries are not mischievous,it expects Islamabad will wait for the FBI to complete its investigation and Mumbai Police to file its charge sheet before producing a final report. New Delhi,on its part,has not yet ruled out the possibility of the involvement of local elements in the attacks,the political jousting around it notwithstanding.

HOLBROOKE ARRIVES,TO ‘LISTEN’ TO INDIA

President Barack Obama’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke arrived in New Delhi from Afghanistan late on Sunday evening. He will meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday. An American spokesman said Holbrooke was on an ‘orientation trip’ and intended mainly to ‘listen’.

LAKHVI,ZARAR HELD,GET 14 DAYS REMAND

Lashkar-e-Toiba commanders Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah have been arrested and remanded in 14 days custody of federal investigators,Pak media reported

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