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Monday, Dec 17, 2001

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Jaish, Lashkar carried out attack with ISI guidance: police
By Prashant Pandey


Mohammad Afzal (extreme left) with Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani and Shaukat Hussain (both bespectacled), arrested in connection with the Parliament House shoot-out case, being produced in New Delhi on Sunday. - Photo: Sandeep Saxena

NEW DELHI, DEC. 16. The conspiracy to carry out a ``fidayeen'' attack on the Parliament House on December 13 was a joint operation planned by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

This followed a pact between the JeM chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, and Zakir-ur-Rehman of the LeT, the Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr. Ajai Raj Sharma, said at a press conference here today.

The JeM commander in India, Ghazi Baba, a Pakistan national now hiding in the Adu Hills of Pahalgam, told Mohammad Afzal, main co-ordinator of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Delhi and a resident of Sopore in Baramulla, that a ``fidayeen'' attack was to be carried out in Delhi.

The initial plan was to target the airport, but the idea was dropped and Parliament was chosen instead. Instructions to this effect were passed on to the conspirators by the ISI through the top brass of the two militant outfits involved.

Police said investigations revealed that the militants were in constant touch with Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani, a lecturer at Delhi University's Zakir Hussain (Evening) College, who was arrested on December 15.

Geelani was in constant touch with Afzal and his cousin Shaukat, a resident of Mukherjee Nagar in North-West Delhi. In the first week of December, a meeting attended by the three and the ``fidayeen'' squad was held at Shaukat's residence.

Police teams raided Shaukat's residence from where his wife, Afsan Guru, was arrested. She said that after the attack on Parliament, Shaukat and Afzal had left for Srinagar in a truck (HR-38-E-6733). This information was flashed to the Jammu and Kashmir police and a Delhi police team was also flown to Srinagar. The two were arrested and brought back to the Capital. A laptop and Rs. 10 lakhs were recovered from the duo. The details of the conspiracy were apparently stored in the laptop.

Police said that in February, Tariq, a close associate of Ghazi Baba, contacted Afzal in Srinagar and motivated him to join the JeM. Afzal came to Delhi and motivated Shaukat _ with whom he was living _ and Geelani.

In October, Mohammad, a Pakistan national and a JeM militant, appointed leader of the ``fidayeen'' squad, was introduced to Afzal. He came to Delhi with Rs. 50,000 and a laptop. A week later Raja and Haider _ also Pakistan nationals and JeM militants _ came to Delhi. In the first week of December, two more _ Rana and Hamza _ joined them. All the five militants stayed at two hideouts arranged by Shaukat at Christian Colony and Gandhi Vihar in Mukherjee Nagar.

The last batch of two militants came with two holdalls containing four AK assault rifles, three pistols, a grenade launcher, 15 shells, 15 grenades, two packets of detonators, radio-activated devices and two wireless sets.

The militants bought a black Yamaha from Karol Bagh for Rs. 20,000 and conducted reconnaissance of Parliament from outside. They bought five mobile phones, six SIM cards, five cargo trousers, five T-shirts, five jackets and five pairs of shoes from Tibetan market in Civil Lines. They also bought five backpacks from Chandni Chowk in North Delhi and three police uniforms from Kingsway Camp.

To assemble the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), they bought 30 kg of ammonium nitrate, 4 kg of sulphur and 4 kg of aluminium powder, a 30-kg-capacity container and five small containers from Tilak Bazaar in Khari Baoli. They also procured fake identity cards and parking labels. On December 11, they purchased the white Ambassador car from Karol Bagh and fitted it with tinted glass and red flash beacon.

On December 13, all of them assembled at Gandhi Vihar and Mohammad, the squad leader, handed over the laptop and Rs. 10 lakhs to be given to Ghazi Baba by Afzal.

The five militants then drove into Parliament House from Gate No. 2. Prior to entering the complex, Mohammad called Afzal on the mobile phone, asking him to watch the Parliament proceedings on television and inform him about the presence of VVIPs in the House. However, Afzal could not respond promptly and Mohammad decided to go ahead with the plan. A shoot-out followed and all the five _ Mohammad, Rana, Raja, Haider and Hamza _ were killed.

Police have recovered chemicals, detonators, unused IEDs, a map of Delhi, a sketch of Chanakyapuri and other incriminating material from the hideouts.

The four accused have been remanded to seven-day police custody.

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