Chidambaram says one 26/11 handler could be an Indian

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said that there was a handler in the November 26, 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai who could be an Indian or someone who had lived in the country for a long time.

"There was a handler in 26/11 whom we have known for long, or suspected for a long time, could be an Indian," Mr Chidambaram told journalist Vir Sanghvi in an interview on television channel CNBC-TV 18.

He said that voice samples of the suspect from Pakistan were essential to conclusively estbalish the identity of the handler, who goes by the name of Abu Jindal.

"Goes by the name Abu Jindal. That's something we have known for many, many months now, he goes by the name Abu Jindal, but he is not Abu Jindal, that is not his real name," the Home Minister said.

"Now we can't get a finger on who he is, unless we get a voice sample," he said, adding that Pakistan would not give India the voice samples.

"Now there could be speculation that Abu Jindal could be A, Abu Jundal could be B. Now you may be right in your speculation, but how as Home Minister can you speculate? I can't speculate. Now secondly when we say he could be an Indian, he could be somebody who has acquired Indian characteristics," he said.

The Home Minister explained that the person could have infiltrated into India and lived in the country long enough to acquire an Indian accent and familiarity with the local language and words.

"Or he could be somebody who exfiltrated from India to Pakistan, and was adopted by the militants there," he said.

The Hindu had on February 1 reported that Mumbai police investigators might have succeeded in identifying an Indian Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who played a key role in guiding the operations of the team that carried out the 26/11 attack, which left 164 people killed.

The report said the police beleived the Indian national in the Lashkar's control room could be Syed Zabiuddin Syed Zakuddin Ansari, a Laskhar-linked Maharashtra resident who has been a fugitive since 2005.

Mr Chidambaram was asked about the report at his monthly press conference on that day, but he had said that he could neither confirm nor deny it.


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