26/11: India’s 9/11 The Siege of India by the Intelligence


One of the reasons why a siege like that of the attack on the Taj will happen again and again is “because people are not taking 26/11 seriously enough.” Author Adrian Levy says further that there “is not a serious response to a seminal event like 26/11. The sacrifice by people, and also the stigma of the attack on the city, and it is one of the first of many things that will happen now”. (1) But why does he or for that matter his co-author Cathy Scott-Clark feel so? Such things did happen in Nairobi subsequently, but the moot question is: did not such things happen before? To illustrate the point with instances: like what happened on 29 September 2008 or 8 September 2006?  Even the top cop they lionise, DCP Rajvardhan Sinha (now ACP), played a significant role in Malegaon 2006 blasts case.  If the authors justify that the Americans had given enough tidbits to the Indians who did not care to join the dots to decipher the “honey bee” and the “mice” in India, did they not do so in the earlier cases too?

 In the interview to Rediff, Levy praises “the policemen who did fight the terrorists.” Did the same police “fight” the terrorists in 2006 in Malegaon? Enough warnings, though not like the 26 warnings as in the case of the 26/11, were given in advance. What is more, a local leader and former MLA had given direct information of the impending bomb attacks of 8 September 2006 with even the name of the train by which the terrorists would travel to Manmad en route to Malegaon. What is most astounding it was Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Sigh, who addressed the chief ministers of the states of India and the governors thereof on 5 September 2006 and 17 September 2008, cautioned them of the possible bomb attacks? His predecessor, AB Vajpayee, too had warned of possible attacks as on the Parliament a day before the 13 December 2001 attack.

 In the case of Malegaon, it was most amusing. If this advance warning was true, then those who were detonating the rocks en route from Manmad to Malegaon in widening the road were stopped and workers were dispersed in hurry and the same was the case near the quarries in Malegaon itself where deepening the wells was in progress by blasting mines. Who shooed them away? This writer had put the same question to Pramod B Mane, NIA officer, on 14 June 2011. The officer had a sketch of the route drawn with the hill between Manmad and Malegaon marked and shown to him where the blowing of rocks was underway. It was too obtuse for him.

Have Levy and Clark done the big picture? What happened in Pakistan’s “Red Mosque” in 2007 and Marriot hotel on 21 September 2008 are for the Pakistanis to bother.   

 Why do we in India fail to relate 26/11 to 8 September 2006 and 29 September 2008 in India itself?

 If the “jihad factory” of Al Qaida was active in 1998 in Kenya, then there was no such factory in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu where native Muslims tried to avenge the criminal murder of their relatives injured in the riots. They were admitted in hospitals where extremist Hindus attacked and killed them while they were being treated for their wounds. Hence, Muslims chose the hospitals as their target. There was no pan-Islamic movement here as is misconstrued by some.

Indian terrorist scenes have a different setting and there is no “jihadi factory” within India as it is in Pakistan or in al Qaida bases in the Middle East and Africa.

 Furthermore, the police informer Zabiuddin aka Abu Jindal had helped in importing huge quantities of RDX and weapons including AK47s on 9 May 2006 to Mumbai, Malegaon and Verud near Aurangabad. Apparently, no police officer was involved in planting the material. But a resident of Malegaon, Shakeel Ahmad Mohammad Yusuf, gave an affidavit to the MCOCA court alleging that it was ACP Rajvardhan Sinha who had used Pius Agarwal and others to plant the arms in a dry-well near Ankai on 9 May 2006. And it was at the instance of Sinha that the material was removed and local Muslims were arrested at the instance of Agarwal and other local Hindus. A copy of the affidavit is with the Milli Gazette. During the hearing in the court in the third week of November 2013, the police officer who arrested some of the accused at Verud, said that there was no road that went through the temple. The defense lawyer Wahab asked him: then how did he come inside and intercept the arms laden car. (Fuller report in Inquilab, 22 November 2013).  

 Police informers have played havoc with intelligence agencies. Zabiuddin, Sajid Ahmad, Abrar Ahmad and hundreds of others from the Muslim community fell victim of the police network of spies for snooping.

The heart of the matter is: who employs them and why to carry out terror activities. To do the larger picture in the words of Devy it is also to reverse the logic of his assumption: “Why don’t you use me” assumes Levy as Headley to be saying to FBI, “as the Trojan Horse? I look like a white guy, as you say like a gora. I have an American passport.” And he said, “I will stake out a city for you and I will choose places where there is an international crowd and I will enable you to attack India but also to appease Al Qaeda, the people who are enamoured with Al Qaeda, by broadening the base of the attack out, attack the West, attack America, attack the British, attack Jews. We all find somewhere like that and I propose that the place to do that is the metropolis.”

Were the Americans, the Israelis, the Pakistanis, really spoiling for such a big operation for their future strategic use by outsourcing it to the LeT and the “honey bee” and the “mice” for assorted reasons?  

Thirteen February 2009 is a memorable day as the Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor admitted as fact that 16 Pakistanis including Indians apart from Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin were involved in 26/11. The same day, Pakistan also accepted that part of the conspiracy was hatched on its soil.

Narendra Modi had accused the Central government of hiding the Indian involvement for its vote bank politics. That would mean that the local involvement was of Muslims and not Hindus in the attack.  As it later turned out, Fahim and Sabauddin were framed and hence the remaining accused dead or alive were both Pakistanis and also some Indians. Several foreign agencies also helped India like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Scotland Yard, the Singapore police, the French police and the German police.

 DGP AN Roy had taken control of the events though he had no operational responsibility. He set up his control room at NCPA while Gafoor was at the Leopold Café and Maria operated from Crawford market Police commissioner’s head office. What is worth noting is how did Maria behave in the crisis period. When Gafoor ordered him to remain at his post, the head of the Crime Branch became “incandescent”(2), i.e., extremely angry at the Commissioner. He wanted to rush to the Nair hospital to interrogate Kasab who was brought there. The Commissioner said that the Additional Commissioner of Police Tanaji Ghadge was already dispatched because the hospital was in the jurisdiction of Ghadge. Even then Maria sent a DCP to shadow Ghadge. According to Levy and Clark, Maria wanted to see that Ghadge did not screw it up, meaning fail to interrogate Kasab properly. The question arises: why would Ghadge fail? Or, did Maria have a brief on what and how to interrogate?  

This also became quizzical when during the trial, Judge Tahilyani did not record when he questioned Kasab whether he knew Faheem Ansari who allegedly had supplied a hand-drawn map according to the Mumbai Police but according to the Levy, the terrorists had a Google map to guide them and they had customised it before they left Karachi. Why did the judge also ask everyone to leave the court room before he questioned Kasab in camera? This angle of conspiracy within a conspiracy or intrigue within an intrigue is a serious aspect.

Levy and Clark have simply not taken it in record nor did Pradhan Commission bother about it in its skimpy 64 page report on 26/11. However, SM Mushrif did deal with this aspect. His book is anathema to others. Even Levy and Clark ignored it.

 It is relevant in this context to quote in detail Mushrif who approximated in hinting at the “honey bee” of Levy and Clark:

“The beginning of the 21st century witnessed a series of bomb blasts across the country; their blatant wrong and exaggerated reporting in the media, apparently at the instance of the premier intelligence agency of the country (the IB), the uncalled for interference of the IB in the investigation of bomb-blast cases with ulterior motives; the self-detected Nanded blast case of 2006; the absolutely honest and transparent investigation of the Malegaon blast case of 2008  by the then chief of the ATS Maharashtra, late Hemant Karkare, exposing a nationwide terror network; the interruption of the Malegaon blast investigation by the Mumbai terror attack of 26/11 which was a result of the deliberate blocking of an extremely specific piece of intelligence by the IB, the dastardly and brutal killing of the ATS chief Hemant Karkare; the post-haste appointment of the highly controversial officer KP Raghuvanshi as Hemant Karkare’s successor; the doubtful investigation of CST-CAMA Ranghbhavan Lane part of the Mumbai terror attack by the IB and the FBI, with the Crime Branch Mumbai merely acted as a puppet, and so on.” (3)

 Mushrif was Inspector General of Police in Maharashtra and should know the way the police and the intelligence agencies work. His statement shows that 26/11was stage-managed in order to stop Karkare from continuing his exposure of the network of Hindutva terrorism all over the country when he found the Hindutva hand in Malegaon September 2008 attack.

It is corroborated by Karkare’s smiley farewell of 24 November 2008 interview to the Indian Express. He referred to threats to his life and family and reportedly sought help/sanctuary from the US embassy.   

Abrar Ahmad, one of the nine accused in Malegaon 2006 blasts, says that [the so-called “battled hardened”] Rajwardhan Sinha  had given mobile phones to him and his wife Jannatunnisa and recorded fake conversations he ordered Abrar to make. These fake conversations implicate innocent youth of Malegaon. One of such youth is  Zahid, another accused in the same case. This is a clear case of perjury on the part of both Abrar and Rajwardhan Sinha. Sinha made Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit hear it when Abrar was under illegal detention in Jagtap Mala in Nashik. Even more disturbing is that ATS kept Abrar in a hotel in Dadar in Mumbai. The same Sinha met Abrar along with deputy ATS officer Subodh Kumar Jaiswal and another ATS officer Sachin Kadam on 1 September 2008. They assured Abrar that they would get him out on bail after they “finished their mission of removing those who were disproving what they had written in their chargesheet against the nine accused”. Urdu-speaking Abrar’s words in his native tongue clearly show Sinha as the very opposite of what Levy and Clark say of him. Abrar quotes these officers as saying, “Hum logon ka ek mission hai do dhai mahiney men pura hojaye ga. Phir beech men kutch log tang ada rahay hain; koi nahin rahey ga (We have a mission which would be over in two and half months. Then there will no one be left who is creating obstacles in our path.” It is after accomplishing this mission that the three would see that Abrar gets bail. When Abrar questioned what relation was there between their mission and his bail, they clarified that they had made investigations and written a chargesheet on the 2006 blasts which the new comers in the ATS like Hemant Karkare were changing. This would mean that the three officers were staunch advocates of the Hindutvadi ideology which says that only Muslims are terrorists; Hindus cannot be. This development clearly buttresses what Mushrif has said in his book. Unfortunately this requires a different inquiry which is beyond the ambit of the courts of law. Only a neutral foreign investigation agency or commission can unearth but our courts and the law ministry would never agree.

 Another instance of this stalemate is that of Himayat Baig, convicted and sentenced to death in Pune German Bakery case. Baig wrote a letter to the High Court asking it not to give Yasin Bhatkal to ATS Maharashtra custody because the ATS would torture Bhatkal and make him confess under duress that he was with Baig in planting the bomb at the German Bakery.(4) The ATS under Rakesh Maria/Raghuvanshi was totally biased against Muslims and had been trained by Purohit to prove only Muslims as terrorists. That was what Purohit’s training the ATS in counter-terrorism amounts to.  How does the ATS do it is spelled by Baig as “third degree” treatment and “force”. Levy and Clark lift the veil when they observe the characteristic modus operandi of Rakesh Maria, in charge of Crime Branch during the 26/11 and ATS chief during the German Bakery blast and the trial. Methods of torture: “sleep deprivation, near drowning [the notorious in-human water boarding as in the case of Khwaja Yunus], mock executions [as in the case of Fahim Ansari, another person falsely implicated in 26/11] and electrocutions [as in the case of Noorulhoda, an accused in Malegaon 2006 blasts] in secret locations (p. 82).

In fact, when Maria met Kasab first time he pointed his knuckles and threatened him to tell everything without being killed.

Can the likes of Maria, Sinha and Raghuvanshi let anyone do the larger picture? The Pradhan Commission on 26/11 is an eye-wash as it is based on what the cops wanted it to say.  

The Siege: The Attack on the Taj. Andrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark.  Penguin India, New Delhi, 2003. P. 148.
Who Killed Karkare, the real face of terrorism in India. SM Mushrif. New Delhi, Pharos Media, 2009.
Don’t give Bhatkal to ATS: Baig. The Times of India Nashik edition 24 October 2013.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2013 on page no. 9

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