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Unanswered questions in the 26/11 chargesheet

By Sheela Bhatt in Mumbai
Last updated on: February 26, 2009 15:21 IST
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Three questions were most important when investigations started into 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that killed over 170 people.

1. Was any person linked to the Pakistan government, its army or the Inter Services Intelligence involved directly or indirectly behind the attack?

2. If any Indian nationals were involved? Who were they and what was their role?

3. Did Dawood Ibrahim or Tiger Memon, known terrorists now hiding in Pakistan, play any role in it?

The third question was answered by Joint Commissioner of Police and head of Mumbai's Crime Branch Rakesh Maria on Wednesday. He said categorically that they have not found evidence pointing to Dawood's involvement.

The answers to the first two questions are not forthcoming in a convincing manner in the chargesheet which was presented in court on Wednesday or through the investigations so far revealed by Mumbai police.

The media doesn't have any 'official' access to the voluminous chargesheet, so far. The chargesheet contains Ajaml Kasab's 'sealed' confessional statement taken under the Indian law which is admissible in court.

The Mumbai police provided 47 pages of synopsis of the 11,280 pages long chargesheet to media charging Rs 50. Four copies, including one in Hindi and Marathi, have been submitted in the lower court which says out of 47 accused, 35 are absconding, nine are dead and three arrested. Most of the names of accused are so general that they will be rejected by Pakistani authorities.

Maria said: "These 35 wanted accused are either Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives or people supporting its objectives. Some are real names, some are aliases."

The biggest question of all -- if the Mumbai attack was the dubious idea of only non-state actors of Pakistan or any serving officer or officers of Pakistan were also behind it -- is answered in a vague manner in the chargesheet.

There are two names in the chargesheet supposedly of the Pakistani army personnel. Both names are in list of accused.

Under the section titled 'Planners and Trainers Behind the Attack' the list of accused is given. The accused number 20 is 'major general saab' whose real name is not known to the Mumbai police. In the list, accused number 25 is one, Colonel R Saadat Ullah.

His case is sensational if what chargesheet conveys or trying to imply is true.

On page 35 of the synopsis under the heading of Technical Evidence, it lists how the Mumbai police got permission of Indian court to request US legal authorities for 'assistance in investigation'. This is done to 'legitimise' any legal help in investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case.

These passages of the chargesheet are important because the Mumbai police claim that they have been able to get evidence of payment for communication.

The chargesheet meticulously first proves which telephone numbers were used by terrorists, from which numbers (of Pakistan) calls were received by the terrorists in Mumbai and then it proves who paid, how much and how for the connection and who used them from which numbers.

Read what the chargesheet says, "During the entire operation, the deceased accused used mobile phone numbers 9819464530, 9820704561 and 9910719424. On these cell phones, incoming calls form 012012531824 were found whereas, outgoing calls to 43720880764, 43720880767, 43720880768 were made. These calls were made or received for seeking/giving instructions from the co-conspirators in Pakistan. Investigation further revealed that these numbers were connected to an account created with Callphonex, a VoIP service provider based in New Jersey, USA."

Then, the Mumbai police with the help of FBI found out who paid the bill for getting the telephone connection.

The terrorists had made 284 calls and talked for 995 minutes during the attacks.

The chargesheet claims that, "It further transpired that on 20th and 21st Oct, 2008, an individual identifying himself as Kharak Singh indicated that he was a VoIP reseller located in India and was interested in establishing an account with Callphonex. Two payments were made to Callphonex for Kharak Singh's accounts. On October 27, 2008, the initial payment of $250 was wired to Callphonex via MoneyGram, receipt number 80700471903880005473. The sender for this payment was Muhammad Ishfaq. The sender used MoneyGram agent Paracha International Exchange located at Road Anarkali Fayazuddin in Lahore, Pakistan. According to MoneyGram records, Ishfaq provided an address of Post Office Mall Avn, The Gujar K, Peshawar, Pakistan and telephone number 03455698566."

Maria claims that Kharak Singh is a false name of a Pakistan national.

The chargesheet gives evidence of how on November 25, 2008 the second payment of $229 was wired to Callphonex via Western Union Money Transfer receipt number 8364307716-0.

The sender of this payment was Javed Iqbal. The sender used Western Union Money Transfer agent Madina Trading, located in Brescia, Italy, to make the payment to Callphonex. For identification, Iqbal provided Madina Trading with Pakistani passport number KC092481.

During investigation, it further came to light that the accused, while communicating with Callphonex used email ID This email ID was accessed from at least ten IP addresses.

Police Inspector Mukund Pawar of the Cyber Cell, Crime Branch, Mumbai Police has investigated and informed as regards the details of the IP addresses and their respective locations, claims chargesheet.

This gives the sensational details of Col R Saadat Ullah.

When Pawar investigated IP address he found that its location was Main ISP Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, Post box number 2131, Miltan City, Australia. And, its official user is Col Saadat Ullah. SCO, Qasim Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan and Khurram Shazad at the same address.

The relevant documents supporting the above findings have also been submitted by Mukund Pawar.

Col Saadat Ullah with e-mail ID and Khurram Shazad have been shown as wanted accused as they facilitated communication between the deceased accused and the wanted accused during the course of the offence and hence conspired in perpetuating the heinous crime, claims the chargesheet.

In simple words it means that someone in the Pakistani government or using Pakistan government employee's e-mail ID was a fixer between terrorists in Mumbai and their handlers or mentors in Pakistan when mayhem was on.

When asked about it, Maria said, "It's a part of the investigation and we will have to wait and see. We are investigating if they are in army or are part of Lashkar."

When asked if any Pakistani army people are mentioned in the chargesheet, Maria said, "We have names and designation of people but whether they are army people or belong to the ranks of the Lashkar that is a matter of investigation. Whoever they are, they are leading and abetting the Lashkar."

Maria repeatedly gave the same reply when asked anything about the involvement of any Pakistan government-linked officer that, "our investigation is going on."

When specifically asked by a journalists that if any covert or overt involvement of Pakistan authority has been found, Maria said, "No." and added, "We have been able to establish the involvement of Lashkar's marine wing."

In that case, who is Colonel R Saadat Ullah? Why underplay the fact mentioned in chargesheet that he belongs to Pakistan government's Special Communication Organisation? An Indian television channel has already tacked down Col Saadat Ullah.

Former High Commissioner of Pakistan G Parthasarathy told, "SCO is the organisation run by Pakistan Army's Signal Corps. And, you should know that this evidence was provided to India by none other than the FBI."

Read Part II of this analysis: Mumbai attack was planned a year ago

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Sheela Bhatt in Mumbai