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Mumbai cops in Uttar Pradesh for breakthrough on terror probe

National, Tue, 09 Dec 2008 IANS

Mumbai, Dec 9 (IANS) Police in Mumbai investigating the 60-hour terror strike in the city are hoping for a breakthrough when they get custody of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Fahim Ansari, who has been in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur jail since February, officials here said Tuesday.


Armed with Fahim's arrest warrant from the local court here, an advance team has already left for Uttar Pradesh and another was due to leave soon, joint police commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria told IANS.



He added that they had no official information about Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, who was reportedly arrested by Pakistani security forces in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.



Information on Fahim's involvement in the elaborate groundwork that went into Mumbai's terror siege has come mainly from the interrogation of Ajmal Kasab - the only terrorist caught alive, a police source said.



According to information that police has pieced together, Fahim had come to Mumbai in December last year to gather inputs on the city's Taj and Oberoi-Trident hotels in the form of maps, photographs and videos. He had also done a recce of the Gateway of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Kasab's interrogation has revealed.



In February this year, Fahim was intercepted by Uttar Pradesh police while he was on his way to LeT's Nepal base. He had been called back as arms and ammunition required for the Mumbai strike could not be organised till then, it has come to light.



A Crime Branch official said all information gathered from Kasab had been checked and found correct.



Apart from proceeding on the leads provided by Kasab, police are also independently trying to uncover the terrorists' local accomplices who might have given not only logistical support but also provide arms and ammunition, he added.



'Our success in catching one of the 10 terrorists alive has really boosted our confidence,' he said, pointing out that they were all members of suicide squads with instructions to fire indiscriminately to kill the maximum number of people, hold people hostage for a prolonged gunbattle and finally lay down their lives.



Mumbai Police has sent all information about Fahim to the central agencies who in turn have informed the Interpol, the source said.



As for investigations carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Mumbai, he said the team has neither coordinated with local police nor interrogated Kasab except for meeting state Director General of Police A.N. Roy once after their arrival.


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