Pune blast part of Lashkar's 'Karachi Project'?
TNN, 15 February 2010, 01:55am IST
PUNE/NEW DELHI: Investigators suspect the blast in Pune on Saturday was set off by Indian Mujahideen as part of the `Karachi Project' - a plot by the Lashkar-e-Taiba involving fugitive Indian jihadis and serving and retired officers of the Pakistan army aimed at keeping up the offensive against India.
Sources in security agencies believe that the Southern Brigade of Indian Mujahideen which comprises absconding IM terrorists Abdus Subhan Qureshi and Mohsin Chaudhary - a Pune resident - could have been behind the explosion in the landmark German Bakery that left nine dead.
The assessment is based on similarities with other terror attacks carried out by IM which was floated by Lashkar to camouflage its hand in the continued terror campaign against India. The date of the attack is part of the pattern that the group has followed since the serial blasts it engineered in Jaipur in 2008 - that is to strike either on 13th on 26th. The last five major attacks, including 26/11, have happened on these two dates. The only significant deviation was the attack in Bangalore on July 25, 2008.
Second, they have always struck in the evening hours and have involved blasts, with the exception of 26/11 which was a frontal assault by Pakistani gunmen.
But there are other reasons as well why agencies are veering around to the IM angle. The intelligence with them suggests that IM leaders who are part of the `Karachi Project' have been under pressure for sometime to resume their activities. As part of the project, which was revealed by American Lashkar ****** David Headley to his FBI interrogators, fugitive IM leaders Bhatkal brothers - Riaz and Iqbal - Mufti Sufiyan and Rasool Parti are being sheltered in Karachi by Lashkar. Headley, who recceed Chabad House close to German Bakery, had also told FBI interrogators about serving and retired officers of Pakistan army being part of the project.
Mohammad Amjad Khwaja, a leading IM ****** from Hyderabad who was lodged in Pakistan by Lashkar as part of the Karachi Project and was recently arrested after reaching here, told his interrogators that he and his associates were shown videos of Pune's Osho Ashram and Mumbai's Blue Synagogue.
The IM leaders could have settled on Pune also because the outfit has always had a strong presence in the city. Some of the prominent ones - techies Mohammed Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy who headed the `media wing' of the group, Mohammad Atiq Mohammad Iqbal and Anik Shafiq Sayyad, and Anwar Abdulganj Bagwan, an MBBS doctor from a local hospital - are in prison. But Mohsin Chaudhary, known to agencies, along with other foot soldiers from the city and other parts of Maharashtra as well as Karnataka, have so far dodged the police hunt. Union home ministry identified the fugitives on the run as Mohammad Ali, Amin, Irfan and Abu Rashid.
Sketches of the Pune bomber, prepared on the basis of descriptions of those present at German Bakery, are to be shown to IM jihadis in prison.
FBI's chargesheet against Headley also indicates that Pune was in the crosshairs of the Lashkar leadership. In an email to Headley, his Lashkar handler told him, "There are investment plans with me, not exactly at Rahul's city but near that. Rest we can decide when we meet according to your ease." As is known, `Rahul's city' has been established as referring to Mumbai.
Union home minister P Chidambaram's statement on Sunday that India has sought access to Headley acquires significance in this context.
Another pointer to the Lashkar connection is the speech made by Jamat-ud-Dawa's deputy chief Abdur Rehman Makki mentioning Pune along with Delhi and Kanpur as "fair targets" for attacks he said jehadis should launch in retaliation
to what he alleged was India's denial of river waters to Pakistan.
Intelligence agencies were intrigued by the reference to Pune as, unlike Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, or for that matter even Bangalore, the city is less likely to figure in the hate speech of a jehadi.
For the same reason, authorities have decided to step up vigil in Kanpur, another entry on Makki's list of "fair targets". Like Pune, Kanpur is also home to militant Hindu outfits, another reason agencies feel why they attract the attention of jehadis.
The IM got a big blow because of the arrest of its senior figures and elimination of others like Atif Amin - who was killed in the Batla House shootout. But agencies feel that those still at large - estimated to be over 20 - remain a threat and are crucial to the execution of Karachi Project. In the north, Arif alias Junaid, who escaped from Batla House, and Mirza Shadab remain active and are expected to carry out an attack on Indore according to Shahzad, the IM member who was recently arrested.
Asked whether the blast could have been carried out by the IM, Union home minister P Chidambaram said, "I am not ruling out anything and not ruling in anything." He also visited the German Bakery on Sunday morning, but refused to pin the blame for the blast on an intelligence failure. "It was an insidious attack, planting a bomb at a soft target establishment," he said.
Intelligence agencies working on the case felt that the likelihood of a local person in the blast appeared remote. "Most pointers to the blast suggest that it is the handiwork of terror elements from outside the city. The incident appears thoroughly well-planned and executed," an intelligence official said.
Two ATS teams questioned at least six persons suspected of having direct or indirect links with the blast. According to sources, the ATS rounded up the suspects at Kondhwa, a senior police officer said.
Sources with the Army's bomb disposal squad have hinted at the possibile use of RDX. ``Our first local tests are hinting at the presence of RDX. We have taken samples after the blasts and carried out tests on them. These tests confirmed RDX - plastic RDX to be precise. It was a blast triggered off by an improvised explosive device (IED),'' the sources told TOI.
Pune blast part of Lashkar's 'Karachi Project'? - India - The Times of India
One fair question to pakistani members who were being ignorant about LeT.
After few days in a public rally, A so called charitable organization, Jamat-ud-Dawa's deputy chief Abdur Rehman Makki says publicly that Pune along with Delhi and Kanpur are "fair targets" and jehadis should launch attack.
And soon the Pune attacked by bomb blast what does it shows?