2006 Mumbai train blast: As usual the mastermind is at large

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New Delhi, Sept 11: The verdict in the 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts will bring about a closure to the families of 189 persons who lost their lives. However in this case too there will be a list of persons for whom the verdict will make no difference as they are parked in the safe havens of Pakistan.

Read more: 2006 Mumbai train blasts verdict today

Take the case of Azam Cheema, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's intelligence man who had masterminded the blasts which rocked the commercial capital of India. He and 15 others are absconding and it appears as though their status would remain that way.

2006 blast: Mastermind is still at large

While there are 15 accused missing still, the names of Azam Cheema and Raheel Shaikh are most important as they were the key conspirators of the blast. What is even more shocking is that they continue to live in their Bhawalpur mansions in Pakistan, the same place from where they masterminded and remote controlled the blasts.

Who is Azam Cheema?

Azam Cheema along with Raheel Shaikh are said to have masterminded the train blasts. He is a key commander of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and apart from orchestrating the 2006 train blasts, he had played a role in the 26/11 attacks as well. Cheema is the intelligence chief of the Lashkar.

In the past he has conducted several training camps where preparation of high powered explosives are taught. Being the intelligence chief of the Lashkar, he played a very key role in ensuring infiltrations into India. In fact he had activated the cell that had carried out the 2006 train blasts and managed to infiltrate several operatives into India with ease.

Cheema is said to have trained several youth for the 2006 blasts. His role in the training programme for those terrorists who also carried out the 26/11 attacks too cropped up during investigations.

From the year 2008 onwards, Cheema was asked to take a back seat in major terror operations as the heat on him was extremely high. He was appointed advisor to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. He advises Lakhvi on the operations of the Lashkar and the prime focus is now Kashmir.

Raheel Shaikh:
Raheel Shaikh alias Ataur Rehman is a mystery till date. He is originally a resident of Naya Nagar in Mumbai, but operated largely out of Kondhwa in Pune before fleeing to Dubai.

He has been constantly moved around and the last time his location was tracked he was said to be in Birmingham. A mastermind in the 2006 train blasts, Shaikh's extradition process never took off.

Although the Interpol had sought details from the CBI about him suggesting that he could be in the United Kingdom, for reasons best known to the agencies, the extradition process never took off.
Raheel is said to have undergone training in Paksitan under the guidance of Cheema.

The other important person wanted in the 2006 train blasts is Rizwan Daware. His whereabouts continue to be a mystery. His parents had told the police that Daware had left Wanavadi in the month of April 2006. They said that he along with his wife had left for Saudi Arabia but never returned.

Daware is a software engineer by profession is accused of moving Rs 3.6 lakh to the accused to carry out the 2006 serial train bombing. He is said to have moved the money through a hawala channel from Saudi Arabia, investigators said.

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