NEW DELHI: Intellience agencies say their agents were listening to Ishrat Jahan and three other Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives chatter with their handlers in Pakistan. On the purported tapes is a conversation between an LeT handler in Pakistan and his India operative, discussing the arrival of a terror operative in Ahmedabad. Sample this:
LeT handler: He has reached there. I have told him about you but he doesn’t know the area.
Operative in India: Did you give him my number?
LeT handler: Yes, I gave him. I have asked him to get down at Ahmedabad. He will introduce himself as Abdul Gani.
Operative: Abdul Gani. Ok.
Assuming a false identity is not new for terrorists. In the Ishrat case, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and Ishrat Jahan had checked into the Mezbaan International Hotel in Lucknow in May 2004 as Abdul Rehman and his wife Ayesha. Another LeT operative, Amjad Ali, had introduced himself as Rajkumar. All three spent at least 12 days in Uttar Pradesh. Javed rented accommodation in Pune as Sayeed Abdul Wahid. On May 26, 2014 Javed and Ishrat had checked into the Hotel Ajanta as Rajesh Kumar and Geeta.
The chatter reveals that the LeT handler arranged a SIM card and phone for Gani and tasked him to lie low for a couple of days. The LeT cell that was helping the operative was asked to carry out tasks after confirming with the handler.
Former Home Secretary G K Pillai’s claim may change the entire course of investigation as a cornered UPA is finding hard to defend filing a censored affidavit when P Chidambaram was Union Home Minister. Pillai also said the operation was an example of excellent intelligence coordination in which the IB had “enticed” and “trapped the terrorists” in the plot and then targeted them. He said that the spy agency used a source who LeT thought was theirs.
Pillai, was Union Home Secretary from July 1, 2009 to June 29, 2011, when the two contradicting affidavits (August 2009 and September 2009) were filed by the UPA government. Later, 26/11 accused David Headley told NIA officials in 2010 that Ishrat was recruited by LeT terrorist Muzammil, but that portion was removed from the agency’s interrogation report.