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3 years on, Mumbai train blasts probe falters

July 10, 2009 19:30 IST

Three years have passed since Mumbai was rocked by the horrific train blasts in scores of people died and several others were injured. Nearly 200 people had been picked up and questioned and over 28 chargesheeted in connection with the case, but one can safely say that the key persons behind these blasts continue to remain out of bounds for Indian security agencies.

A recent report suggested that the Dawood Ibrahim gang and the Al-Qaeda financed these blasts and nabbing a couple of key operatives of these two gangs would give Indian investigators more leads into the case. Sources in the investigating agency told that there are two key men who could provide minute by minute details of the entire operation. The men who have been arrested in India so far in connection with this case are operatives carrying out orders of their superiors.

The two key men who India desperately need in order to crack this case are Memon Baba and Rahil Shaikh. While intelligence bureau sleuths confirm that Baba is hiding in Karachi, there appears to be a lot of confusion regarding the whereabouts of Shaikh. IB sources say that Shaikh against whom there is a look out notice is definitely in the United Kingdom. However none are able to confirm whether the man is still on the loose or has he been arrested by the UK police.

Memon Baba: Research and Analysis Wing officials term this man as a double agent. He was originally a smuggler with the Dawood gang operating out of Mumbai before fleeing to Pakistan. This man now plays a crucial role and is a key link between the D-Gang and the Al-Qaeeda. This man is very much in the know of Shaikh who did all the ground work for the train blasts in Mumbai.

Investigating officials say that Baba who is also known as Arif Qaswani had helped raise and transfer funds for the blasts. He raised the funds with the help of Lashkar operatives in Riyadh and got the same transferred into Mumbai and Pune through a hawala transaction. This information regarding this man was derived from one of the operatives by the name, Faisal Shaikh who is in custody of the Mumbai police. Investigating agencies however add that there is an absolute need to pick up Rahil Shaikh in order to get more details on Baba.

Rahil Shaikh: This former Student' s Islamic Movement of India activist played one of the most crucial roles in this case. He was the point man for this attack and all funds that were transferred to Mumbai and Pune were handled by him. Apart from this Rahil also oversaw the supply of arms and ammunition and also played a crucial role in arranging for operatives to carry out the blasts. Rahil was however supported by a man called Rizwan whose whereabouts too are unknown. Intelligence Bureau sleuths say that there was another person of Pakistan origin who was with Shaikh at the time of the blasts, but that man along with Rizwan managed to escape immediately after the incident.

Investigating officials say that Shaikh is a very important man in this case and his extradition could provide vital clues to the solving the case.

Vicky Nanjappa