Mumbai, Nov 26: Every single year since 2008, we ask this question- was there political interference in the 26/11 probe? Speaking to a cross section of people who have put their efforts into decoding the entire incident, one gets the impression that an attack of such a magnitude could not have been staged without the help of locals and political patronage.
GPS points to Machimarnagar:
There is a very vital piece of evidence that suggests that the terrorists who came to India from Pakistan had stopped over at the Machimarnagar a day before the attack. More proof of them stopping over at this place prior to the attack was found in the Global Positioning System that was found on the dinghy that was abandoned by the terrorists.
The GPS has a red mark or spot on it which clearly indicates a stop over at Machimarnagar. Ironically this was an aspect that the Bombay crime branch did not bother even looking into.
Why was this aspect not looked into? Was it political pressure or was it a directive from the then union government to position the entire case only against Pakistan?
There is a lot of material to show that the terrorists were in fact guided by a woman belonging to a gang member led by one man called Basheer. After the terrorists landed in, Machimarnagar they stayed there for two days. A lady who is part of a syndicate, which black markets diesel wore a burqa and guided the terrorists before vanishing at the Cama hospital.
Now interestingly, if one looks at the diesel scam it becomes clear that it was being undertaken by a local politician who was part of the state government at that time back in 2008.
V Balachandran, former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing who was also part of the Pradhan Committee tells OneIndia that a diesel scam accused was connected with the 26/11 attack.
During the inquiry we were told that the ten terrorists stayed over at Machimarnagar and they were provided shelter and later guided by one person. After they landed at Machimarnagar, they carried out a survey of the targets before launching the attack on 26/11.
However, I feel that due to political connections to the diesel scam the aspect may not have been looked into. Although these are not part of our findings since the charter of the commission did not deal with it, we still sent a note regarding this the Union Home Ministry which never bothered to take it up.
The Basheer story:
The other part of the local link could be found in a man called Basheer who is an Indian national and living in Maharashtra. A friend of Tawwahur Rana, there is evidence to show that he was the man who received David Headley at the airport when he landed in Bombay. While Rana arranged for the travel documents, it was Basheer who facilitated Headley's travel within the city.
Sources say that it was Basheer who had in fact told Headley about the Nariman or Chabhad House. This particular place houses Israelis and the Pakistanis wanted to send a message to Israel by attacking the Chabhad House.
After Headley left, Basheer went off the radar. There are contradicting reports regarding this man. In all probability he may have fled to Canada. Since he had a direct relationship with Headley and Rana who are very highly protected assets of the United States, he was asked to leave India as him being nabbed could have spilt the beans on a lot of aspects, which would have brought about discomfort to many.
Too much political pressure:
Several officers who were part of the probe, especially in the Intelligence say that there were various aspects of the probe that remained untouched.
The Union Government showed a teething hurry to complete the probe. They were sending dossiers after dossiers to Pakistan and the intention was to put pressure on Pakistan. The local angle to the probe was very often dismissed since there came up links, which would have made some leaders in Maharashtra uncomfortable.
It is a well known fact that diesel scam has the blessings of Dawood Ibrahim. A leader of the then ruling party had his hands on this scam and probing the lady part of this scam would only open up the Pandora's box, which the system at that time wanted to avoid.
Moreover, the attitude of some of the politicians was also strange when the intelligence went on sharing inputs regarding this lady who helped the terrorists.