Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal, the Laskar-e-Toiba handler who landed in police net recently, is not the only Indian to climb up the hierarchical ladder in Pakistan-based terrorist outfits.
A school dropout from Aligarh, Sabauddin is another Indian who scored brownie points with the LeT top brass and elevated himself to the terror outfit’s strategic team. So impressed were the LeT bosses with Sabauddin that Pakistani members of the organisation were instructed to work under him.
Besides, Sahabuddin and Fahim Ansari, both Indians, were co-accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, along with Ajmal Kasab. However, a Maharashtra trial court has acquitted the duo of the charges levelled by the Mumbai Anti Terror Squad.
Security experts recalled that Sabauddin, who was earlier arrested for his alleged involvement in an attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur on January 1, 2008, gained confidence of senior LeT commanders Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza and Muzammil, after he slipped into Pakistan.
Sabauddin was sent to Kathmandu in Nepal to execute terror operations, but was arrested in Lucknow a month after the Rampur incident. At present, he is lodged in a Lucknow jail. Meanwhile, Jundal is also being interrogated to ascertain the veracity of Sabauddin’s earlier confession that a person by the name of Abu Hamza was involved in the IISc attack in Bangalore in 2005.
Though the investigative agencies doubt Jundal’s involvement in the IISc attack, they are trying to double check facts since a confusion prevails over the identity of Abu Jundal and Abu Hamza. Police in various states are reportedly confused whether Jundal and Hamza are separate individuals or the same person. However, sources said, they are different LeT operatives. While Jundal has been arrested, Hamza continues to be in Pakistan.
Others enjoying patronage of Pakistan-based terror outfits are Riyaz Bhatkal and his brother, who allegedly shuttle between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The state police and intelligence agencies accuse them of creating and mentoring the Indian Mujahideen on LeT’s advice.
Besides, Yasin Bhatkal alias Shahrukh, an IM operative, is believed to be hiding either in Gulf or Pakistan, the officials suspect. A resident of Meer Vihar in Nangolai area on the outskirts of Delhi, he succeeded in giving the police a slip.
Sources said Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan’s detention at a US airport was a case of mistaken identity as the US immigration authorities were actually looking for Bhatkal.
Another name that figures in the intelligence agencies’ priority list is of Dr Shahnawaz, a resident of Azamgarh wanted in the blasts executed by IM in Delhi, Ahemdabad and Jaipur, security officials said.