Saudi Arabia has helped India with a major breakthrough in the probe into the 26/11 attacks by facilitating the arrest of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the key plotters of the Mumbai raid.
Jundal, who directed Ajmal Kasab and other 26/11 attackers from the Lashkar control room, was picked up by the Saudi police, who put him on a New Delhi-bound flight after alerting the authorities here about their prize catch.
The Lashkar terrorist , an Indian national wanted in many terror cases who was arrested on June 21, has since made the stunning claim that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed was present in the control room when the 26/ 11 masterminds choreographed the Mumbai attacks. He also said that ISI and Pakistani army officials were involved in planning 26/11 and attended the meetings.
After Kasab and David Headley, the arrest of Jundal is seen as the third major success in India’s effort to unravel the 26/11 plot.
Kasab’s arrest was important since his Pakistani nationality exposed Islamabad’s initial stubborn denial about involvement in the strike, and put paid to the plan to pin the blame on homegrown terrorists; even Hindu radicals.
Abu Jundal alias Syed Zabiuddin was said to be present in the control room in Karachi with five others during the 26/11 attacks and continuously gave directions to the militants for three days
Said to be very close to Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi
He trained the 10 Mumbai attackers — including Ajmal Kasab — for 12 days in a Muzaffarabad (PoK) training camp
He taught the militants Hindi and how to interact with media
Told investigators that “apart from LeT brass, several officers of ISI and Pakistan army used to attend meetings during planning of 26/11”
Jundal is a native of Georai area in Beed, Maharashtra
A SIMI activist in the late 90s, he joined Lashkar after Godhra riots and visited Pakistan often for training
Jundal is wanted in Ahmedabad train blast and Aurangabad arms haul in 2006
The most important arrest in the 26/11 case after Ajmal Kasab so far
Arrested LeT terrorist Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal’s significance lies in the key role he played in preparations and during the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. Being from Beed in Maharashtra, he taught the basics of Hindi usage to the Pakistani Laskhar squad. On the fateful day, he was in the control room firing instructions to killers, and also coached the killers to wrong-foot the Indian investigators and global community by posing as members of a fictional Indian outfit: Deccan Mujahideen. Sources in the Delhi Police said Jundal, who figures in India’s list of “most wanted” fugitives sheltered in Pakistan, has said that Lakhvi, Azam Cheema, Muzammil and one more handler were also in the control room.
Indian authorities expect him to provide more clarity on the participation of two serving officers of Pakistan army — Major Sameer and Major Iqbal. The 26/11 tapes have a reference to one “Major General Saheb”. Indian authorities hope Jundal would help them ascertain the identity of this person and his connection with the ISI.
Jundal is a vital part of the conspiracy. Tutored by him, the attackers claimed they were motivated by Indian government’s atrocities against Muslims and the plight of Kashmiri Muslims. The ploy that fitted well with Pakistan’s claim that terrorism in India was an indigenous affair; although the use of typical Hindi expressions like “prashashan” for authorities and recommendations for Sachar Commission immediately led Indian investigators to smell a rat.