Sunday, December 7, 2008

Police Focus on Two Men in Mumbai Attacks

Police Focus on Two Men in Mumbai Attacks

Published: December 7, 2008
MUMBAI, India — The Indian police said Sunday they were still trying to determine exactly what role two Indians arrested on Friday night might have played in aiding the terrorists who killed 163 people over the course of a three-day siege.

The two men, Tauseef Rehman, a native of Calcutta, and Mukhtar Ahmed, from the disputed Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, have been charged with fraud and conspiracy for using a false identity card to purchase some 22 subscriber identity module (SIM) cards that were later used by the Mumbai terrorists to make calls during their attacks.

Rakesh Maria, joint commissioner of the Mumbai police, said Sunday that he had sent officers to Calcutta to interview both suspects being held there. Mr. Maria said his officers had yet to confirm reports that Mr. Ahmed was a member of an irregular Jammu and Kashmir police force that carries out counterinsurgency operations in that state. Kashmir police declined to comment on Sunday.

But some Kashmir police officers who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media said Mr. Ahmed did work in counterinsurgency.

According to an article in the Indian Express newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Ahmed was working undercover on penetrating Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani-based militant group believed to have carried out the deadly Mumbai attacks. If true, his arrest could be yet another sign of poor coordination among Indian law enforcement agencies in a case that has already pointed to glaring lapses in the way India’s security and intelligence organizations operate.

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