Bengaluru, July 20: Mohammad Yaqub Janjua, Aamer Yaqub Janjua, Mohammad Zamir and Athar Butt. These are not merely names, but key players of an international racket who had helped carry out the 26/11 attack. While Janjua and Aamer Yaqub had played a key role in moving money from Italy, Butt had ensured that identities of persons were stolen. Zamir on the other hand was arrested in connection with a phone hacking racket which raised funds for various terrorist activities including the 26/11 attack.
For some strange reason, India never pursued these men with any aggression. It is not just in the 26/11 case that the role of these men was found. The recent chargesheet by the Enforcement Directorate also found that it was these men from Italy who had also funded separatists in Kashmir or rather moved money for them.
The phone hacking racket:
Phone hacking had become a major money spinner for terrorist groups. It was found during an investigation conducted by the FBI that several AT&T phones had been hacked into and the money diverted for terrorist activities. Between the years 2007 and 2009 there were several instances of phones being hacked.
Muhammad Zamir, from Italy was arrested in 2007 for running a call centre through which he was buying information on cell numbers from hackers. After his arrest, this call centre was taken over by a Saudi national.
It was found that the hackers used to sell SIM cards which allowed users to make calls through lines that have been hacked. Using the same number, the calls are then made by others; only to be billed to the original customer. When a complaint is lodged about these fraudulent calls, the service provider reimburses the customer, which ends up with these terrorist groups which is eventually used to fund terror operations.
It had been found that a lot of money was moved between Italy, Indonesia and Pakistan.
While two operatives were arrested in Italy for moving money into accounts of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, it was suspected that the money was raised through the phone hacking racket.
Athar Butt was an active operative in Italy. However during one of his visits to Spain he had been arrested. He ran a network which was involved in stealing documents are Italy, Thailand and also Spain. He was the leader of a nine member gang which would steal the identity of people and sell it to terrorist groups.
While investigations had suggested that he had stolen documents and handed it over to the Lashkar which carried out the 26/11 attack, the Indian investigators were not able to get to the bottom of this. Butt is a professional identity thief. He is not attached to the Lashkar alone. Infact he will sell identities of people if he is offered a good sum of money.
It had been found that the these persons had stolen the identity details of a person by the name Iqbal.
It was under the name of Iqbal that Rs 3 crore had been transferred to separatists in Kashmir between 2007 and 2010. What is ironic is that the name of Iqbal was also used when money had been transferred to the accounts of the Lashkar. This amount raised through the phone hacking racket was used for the VoIP calls that the terrorists made during the planning of the 26/11 attack and even while it was being executed.