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7/11 prime accused involved in terror strikes: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai
December 09, 2008 12:46 IST
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The investigations into the Mumbai terror attacks indicate the role played by one of the country's most wanted fugitives.

Rahil Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind the Mumbai serial train blasts on July 11, 2006, provided the Lashkar-e-Tayiba vital information about the targets, Intelligence Bureau sources told

The information provided by Sheikh assisted the terrorists, who had never visited Mumbai, carry out attacks on multiple targets.

Sheikh is said to have worked with another terror suspect Fahim Ansari -- the prime accused in the attack on the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Uttar Pradesh -- on the reconnaissance of likely targets in the city.

Sheikh was reportedly handpicked by the Lashkar some years ago to carry out its operations in Mumbai. Over time, he set up several modules in the city and was actively involved in recruiting cadres and sending them to Pakistan for training, according to sources in the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad.

He eluded the Mumbai and Delhi police several times, and was reportedly arrested in London on November 25. However, the Central Bureau of Investigation issued a statement saying it had no information about such an arrest.

Sheikh, IB agents believe, has taken refuge in Pakistan. A few days before last fortnight's attacks, he is said to have crossed into Pakistan via Nepal, a route used frequently by terrorists.

IB sources said Sheikh also raised funds to finance terror strikes. He has been a member of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India since 2000.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai