New Delhi, June 29: Abu Jundal’s arrest has blown the cover off a Pakistan-supported “control room” where Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed was present during the 26/11 attack, home minister P. Chidambaram said today.
He asked Islamabad to own up to what he said were facts revealed during interrogation by Jundal, the alleged handler who directed the Mumbai gunmen from a Karachi “control room” and was arrested in Delhi on June 21.
“There was a control room and it clearly had state support…. Abu Jundal had an important role to play in the control room,” Chidambaram said. He added that Hafiz Saeed was indeed “present” in the control room, which, he claimed, could not have been set up without state support.
Asked about Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik’s reported comments on Jundal being an Indian, Chidambaram said he was right.
“I agree with Shri Rehman Malik: Abu Jundal is an Indian. Abu Jundal was perhaps radicalised in India; so I admit that,” he said.
“Equally, Pakistan should admit that Abu Jundal did go to Pakistan; that Abu Jundal was part of the group that trained and prepared (gunman Ajmal) Kasab and nine others; that Abu Jundal was in the control room among one of the handlers and masterminds of the attacks. So, just as we admit facts, Pakistan should admit facts,” he said.
Jundal alias Abu Hamza alias Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, 30, is a native of Beed in Maharashtra but was allegedly trained in Pakistan.
Home secretary R.K. Singh too said Pakistan should admit that it gave a passport and two identity cards to Jundal. “They should also admit that they had claimed Abu Jundal was a Pakistani to Saudi authorities.”
Sources said Jundal had been unofficially deported by Saudi Arabia, with the US acting as a co-ordinator, though Chidambaram declined to confirm this. Jundal’s arrest came within days of the June 11-13 Third Strategic Dialogue between India and the US in Washington, which Singh attended.
The minister said India would keep pressing the US for access to and extradition of David Coleman Headley, who allegedly carried out a recce in Mumbai before the November 2008 attack and is in a US jail. “Headley, I am sure, will be given a very long sentence.”
The finger-pointing at Islamabad comes within weeks of a “positive” round of home secretary-level talks in Islamabad.“The hotline between the home secretaries will be up soon. Some technicalities are being sorted out,” Singh told The Telegraph.