The conspiracy behind the 2006 serial train blasts was hatched four years before they took place, at Bahawalpur in Pakistan, by wanted accused and main conspirator, Azam Chima. Through his sources in Mumbai, Bihar and on the Nepal border, Chima brainwashed Indians and funded several trips to Pakistan for their training.
This Anti-Terrorism Squad team had managed to crack the 11/7 blasts case, which culminated in the conviction of 12 od the 13 arrested accused yesterday. Maharashtra did not have an ATS until 2004, just two years before the blasts. K P Raghuvanshi (centre, in blue shirt) was the first Maharashtra ATS chief and he headed the unit during the blasts probe. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
An ATS officer said that even after all this, Chima did not trust Indians to carry out the bombings alone, and sent Pakistani terrorists along with them in the trains. It was decided that each group will have two people — one Indian and one Pakistani.
According to the ATS team which investigated the case, the conspiracy to stage the high-intensity blasts in Mumbai started four years before they took place, following the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Gujarat riots were perfectly used by the Lashkar-e-Taiba to instigate young Indian Muslims and involve them in terror activities.
A police officer said, “Photos from the riots were used to instigate Indians. This was done by accused Faizal Ata-ur Rehman Sheikh. He earlier worked as a bodyguard of Chima in Pakistan. He made several trips between India and Pakistan.” Faisal indoctrinated several more people.
A few years before the blasts, several youths were sent to Pakistan. Money was sent to Faisal through hawala channels by Chima. Through another plot, another accused, Kamal Ahmed Mohammad Vakil Ansari, a resident of Madhubani district in Bihar, came in contact with Chima.
Bahawalpur compound in Pakistan was the main base of terrorists, where all the planning and training was done. A school for terrorists, it was there that under Chima youths were trained in identifying, handling, firing and dismantling weapons. They were brainwashed through hate speeches against the Republic of India and were taught to make, plant and finally test bombs.
They were trained to use modern communication equipment like satellite phones for efficiently and effectively executing their plans. The blueprint of the train bombings was prepared at the Bahawalpur compound, designed by ISI and LeT.
In the four years before the blasts, over 50 youths from Mumbai, Mira Road, Mumbra, etc were sent for training to the Bahawalpur compound. A police officer said, “Initially, Faisal refused to execute the plan, however Chima insisted, as he was nurturing Faisal so that he could be used in the future to execute other plans against India.” A few of the terrorists were sent to Pakistan via Iran while a few others went via Dubai, Bangladesh and Nepal.”
In May 2006, Faisal came to India and, with a few other accused who have been convicted, started studying the easy targets. They recced several places. An officer said, “Several targets such as the Siddhivinayak Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, NSE, etc. were seen, however all the places had high security.
In May, they decided to target Mumbai’s local trains. Faisal told his commander Chima in Pakistan that the trains were the softest target. Several trips from Churchgate to Virar were made by the convicts.” Pakistanis brought in Former ATS Chief K P Raghuvanshi said, “Security was quite low and in the evening peak hours the blasts could carry maximum casualties. However, after the trains were finalised, Chima did not trust Faisal.
He doubted him and could not let Indians carry out the bombings alone. He therefore decided to send Pakistani terrorists to Mumbai. It was decided that seven groups, with at least one Indian and one Pakistani in each group, would carry out the blasts.”
In the last week of June and by July 3, 2006, all the Pakistani terrorists had arrived in Mumbai. Six came from Bangladesh, they carried 20kg of RDX, while three came from Kutch and three from Nepal. Ammonium nitrate was bought in Mumbai. Pressure cookers were bought from two shops in Santacruz. The Pakistani terrorists stayed in Bandra and Mira Road.
A police officer said, “On July 5, all the accused decided to execute the plan on it on July 11. Bombs were made at convict Sheikh Mohammad Ali Alam Sheikh’s house in Govandi and brought to the Bandra house
of Faisal.” Raghuvanshi said, “The time table was very accurate. They kept the bags on the luggage racks and got down r. One of the blasts took place in Matunga which is just after Dadar, but they were confident in timings.”
Another officer said, “All the terrorists were clearly instructed not to carry mobile phones. However, one of the convicts, Naved Hussain Khan, carried a phone which he later gave to his friend in Bandra, which was presented as evidence in call detail records in court. All terrorists were instructed to leave the city immediately. Pakistanis left through Nepal and Bangladesh.”