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No evidence of local help for gunmen in 26/11 attack, claim cops

July 12, 2009 21:30 IST

There was no evidence of local help for the gunmen involved in the November 26, terror strikes and a series of calls made by Lashkar-e-Tayiba handlers prior to the attacks was only to keep the internet telephony account active, a senior police official said on Sunday. "A series of random calls had been made by the LeT handlers using the Callphonex account since they were required to maintain a certain amount of traffic in order to keep the account active," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said. "We have verified every call that was made to India including the random ones and there was no evidence of local support found," he said.

Handlers of the gunmen who were involved in the attack had used a Voice over Internet Protocol account of Callphonex, a US-based service provider, to make calls to the attackers while they were holed up at locations like Nariman House and Taj and Oberoi hotels in the city. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who is conducting the trial in the November 26 case, said that the statements of all the persons who received calls had been recorded and nothing suspicious had been found about them. "The handlers called numbers randomly which is evident since the calls lasted only between 30 to 40 seconds," he said.

"The investigators have recorded the statements of all the persons who received the calls and they have said that they heard some conversation in Urdu, due to which they had disconnected the calls," Nikam said. The statements of the persons who received the calls have not been attached in the charge sheet since it was not evidence against arrested gunman Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and the two other accused, the special public prosecutor said. "There is substantial evidence to show the involvement of ten terrorists and two others, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, but nothing to show the involvement of any local support," Nikam said.

Calls had also been made by the gunmen to their handlers in Pakistan using the mobile phones of hostages, which was also reflected in the Callphonex account, he said. A series of emails had also been exchanged between the persons using the email account 'kharak-telco@yahoo.com' and Callphonex authorities prior to November 26 to keep the account active, police officials said. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, who aided police in their investigations, are also likely to depose in the November 26 terror strikes trial regarding the use of the VoIP account by handlers of the gunmen in Pakistan.

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