Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abu Jundal, also known as Zabiuddin Ansari was charged by the National Investigation Agency on Friday for his role in the Mumbai 26/11 attack. Investigators have said after his deportation from Saudi Arabia in 2012 that he was the man who had given Hindi tuitions to the 10 terrorists who carried out the attack.
Jundal was a prize catch for the Indian agencies. Not only did it help them find the Indian link to the 26/11 attack, but also crack the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. If Jundal is convicted, it would be a major closure for both the NIA as well as the Mumbai crime branch.
[Also Read: Abu Jundal: The man who knows too much]
An NIA officer says that Jundal was an important player in the LeT. He was so high up in the hierarchy that he was one of the few persons who was allowed into the Karachi control room from where the attack was monitored and controlled.
What makes Jundal so important?
His interrogation report in possession of OneIndia makes several points which goes on to show how close he was to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. "I was in touch with two ISI operatives who exclusively handle the India desk. Right from the recruitment to the operations stage, there are always two high-ranking officers in charge of the Indian operatives. I used to report to Colonel Mohammad and Lt Colonel Asad of the ISI, " he told the NIA.
"There are many Indians in the Lashkar, but I was among the very few who was chosen for this operation. The other Indians were Lal Baba, Abu Musab, Abu Sherjil and Abu Jarar. Musab hails from Kashmir while the other two are from Maharashtra."
Jundal speaks extensively about the control room in Karachi which was set up during the 26/11 attack. He says that the control room comprised several members including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and several other ISI officers. The control room was destroyed immediately after the attack came to a close, Jundal says.
The ISI had apprehensions that the Indian agencies may hit at Karachi and hence the control room was immediately destroyed. Jundal also speaks about the jubilation in the Karachi control room after the 26/11 attack, following which, it was immediately destroyed.
The intention post the attack was to ensure that none of the members in the core team came under the radar of the international agencies, especially India. Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed were placed under arrest only as a preventive measure. They were whisked away into safe homes and placed under arrest, but, of course, with adequate security from the Pakistan establishment.
26/11 was just the beginning:
For the ISI the 26/11 attack was meant to do wonders. Not only were they trying to catch the Indian establishment unawares, but also ensure that the ongoing Karachi Project aimed at widespread destruction in India got the necessary boost.
For the Karachi Project to be a success, it was necessary for the ISI to continue nurturing the home grown Indian Mujahideen. Jundal who hails from Beed in Maharashtra says that they were focusing on building up the Indian Mujahideen.
"We proposed to set up the maximum number of modules in Gujarat. My primary focus was always Gujarat," Jundal says during his interrogation. "The Gujarat module was however beaten down and hence the Lashkar decided that it needs to get into this state in a big way only to aid the Indian Mujahideen. I was looking for an army of 1,000 members. This army was not meant to carry out just routine bomb blasts. We wanted blasts with an impact," Jundal says.