Terror mail continues to fox security agencies; police, NIA groping in dark

Terror mail continues to fox security agencies; police, NIA groping in dark

9 September 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The terror e-mail continued to fox security agencies including Kishtwar police and National Investigating Agency (NIA) as they groped in dark for more than 48 hours now unable to trace the person, who had sent the mail from ‘Global Internet Cafe’ at Malik Market, Shaheedhi Road in Kishtwar town on the name of Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami (HuJI) to media houses claiming responsibility for the blast outside Delhi High Court on Wednesday in which 13 people were killed and 76 others were injured. Investigators, who were joined by Forensic experts from Sher-i-Kashmir Police Academy (SKPA) Udhampur, this morning quizzed four more persons in addition to five youths including two owners of the cyber cafe, already detained since yesterday morning but the person, who had sent the terror mail remained elusive, official sources said. While Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced arrest of the HuJI e-mail sender at a press conference at New Delhi, sources in Kishtwar confirmed that no formal arrest has been made so far and that various persons have been detained only for questioning to reach to the accused, who sent the terror mail. 'The Union Home Minister’s statement on arrest of the accused indicated that he was fed wrong information either by police or NIA officials, engaged in investigations of e-mail at Kishtwar’’, sources said. They added that the police and NIA teams with the help of cyber experts have reached to a conclusion that the terror mail had been sent between 1.30 pm to 2 pm on Wednesday from Terminal No. 2 of the cyber cafe. The mail sender had generated the e-mail account harkat-uljihadi2011@gmail.com on spot and sent the mail, the text of which could have already been supplied to him by the militants or sent through a SMS. A total of five persons were surfing the net between 1.30 pm to 2 pm at the cafe on Wednesday when the terror mail was sent. Ashwani Kumar, the Manager engaged by the cyber cafe owners-Mehmood Khwaja and Khalid Hussain, both brothers and residents of Kishtwar, who was quizzed for over five hours inside the cyber cafe, has disclosed during joint questioning by Kishtwar police and NIA that five persons were present at the cafe. Of them, he identified only two-Sanjay Sharma and Sunny Sharma of Sarkoot, Kishtwar and rest were unknown to him as the cyber cafe, being run yards away from the office of the Deputy Commissioner and police station, Kishtwar, was not keeping any record of the visitors. Sanjay and Sunny were found unfit of generating a fresh net account. Also, they used to come only to see photographs, sources said, adding that still they have been detained for questioning along with one Rajinder Kumar of Kishtwar town, who had also used internet from the cafe on the day of blast. On the basis of rough sketch of the email sender prepared by police and NIA this afternoon on the basis of questioning of Ashwani Kumar, police picked up another Part-I student of Government Degree College, Kishtwar identified as Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh of Astanbal, Kishtwar. Sources said Shoaib’s face resembled to the rough sketch prepared by the security agencies. The investigations, however, revealed that Shoaib had surfed the net in the cyber cafe at 4 pm. Among five persons detained yesterday, cyber cafe owner Mehmood Khwaja’s brother, Khalid Hussain and a college student Imran Hussain Sheikh were released today. Sources added that the investigators were trying to identify and nab the person, who sent the email as his arrest could prove very vital in investigations of the blast outside the Delhi High Court. The email sender could be connected to the blasts or lead the investigating agencies very close to the perpetrators as he might be knowing the persons, who had asked him to send the mail to media houses in New Delhi and claim responsibility for the blast within hours after the terror act was executed. The mail reads 'we own the responsibility of today’s blast at the High Court, Delhi. Our demand if that Afzal Guru’s death sentence should be repealed immediately as we would target major High Courts and the Supreme Court of India’’. Sources said the police, NIA and cyber experts carried out investigations inside the cyber cafe for about five hours during the day. Ashwani Kumar, the cafe Manager, who was present at the cafe when the terror mail was sent from Terminal No. 2, was questioned along with the owner brothers. After sustained questioning, the NIA team and cyber experts seized the computer used for sending the terror email from the cyber cafe and took it to the District Police Office (DPO) in Kishtwar, which has been converted into headquarters of police, NIA and cyber experts for investigations of the terror email. The motherboard of the cyber cafe has also been sealed following reports that the computer, from which the email was sent, had been formatted after the mail. The suspects arrested yesterday including two college students besides cafe owner and the Manager were being questioned. The Manager was especially being quizzed on formatting of the system. Sources said Ashwani Kumar was also taken by police in plainclothes outside the degree college and Government higher secondary school in Kishtwar town in tainted screen car to keep a vigil on all students following disclosures by Kumar that the user of Terminal No. 2 of the cyber cafe, who sent the terror mail, was in the age group of 18 to 20 years. Kumar was taken to all entry and exit points of the college and the higher secondary school in the car in search of the accused but he remained untraced. According to sources, the investigating agencies were of the view that the terror mail sender was not only significant for them in terms of the e-mail but he could be aware of perpetrators of the attack outside the Delhi High Court on Wednesday. 'The mail sender might be knowing the blast accused or at least could be aware of their links’’, they said. The two member NIA team had reached Kishtwar yesterday to join investigations in the case while the cyber experts from SKPA Udhampur reached the town this morning. Sources said an email a day has been foxing the security agencies probing the Delhi High Court blast as they are unable to decipher whether the electronic messages were a prank or a modus operandi used by terror groups aimed at confusing the investigations. The email received by Delhi Police headquarters late last night is claimed to have been bounced from various Internet gateways with the server finally traced to Moscow, sources said. They said earlier it was not clear whether the mail could have been masked and shown to have been sent using the Russian server but later it was found that server and Internet gateway from that country had been accessed to send the mail to police headquarters claiming more attacks. The probe agencies were seeking assistance from other security agencies to track the end-user of the mail who used domain name of Yahoo to send the mail by creating an account 'killindian@yahoo.Com'. The first mail was received two hours after the blast and the Internet Protocol address was traced to Kishtwar. The accused had sent the mail using the Gmail service provider and named 'Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami' as responsible for the attack. The second mail was received by media houses yesterday in Delhi and Mumbai claiming that Indian Mujahideen carried out the blasts. This mail has been traced to Kolkata. With the Government making it clear that all mails were being treated seriously, the investigators were at present busy tracking the senders of the mails. PTI adds from New Delhi Two days after the high intensity blast at the Delhi High Court, investigators were groping for a breakthrough even as Home Minister P Chidambaram today said there were 'promising' leads' in the probe while a fourth email warned of a major terror attack in Ahmedabad. On a day two more emails purportedly sent by Indian Mujahideen were received by Delhi Police and media houses, Chidambaram did not rule out cross-border connection, saying, 'at this moment, every organisation is suspect' and he was 'keeping fingers crossed till we have evidence'. The IM claiming responsibility for Wednesday’s blast that left 13 dead and 88 injured, also warned the Government of another attack 'that will be so cruel that you people will not be able to forget it' for decades. '...And if you are willing to know the next attack, it is 1,8,5,13,4,1,2,1,4 till you come to know what it stands for the next blast will be done. If you have any questions because we don’t have time for anything,' the sources said, quoting the e-mail. Sources said the code numbers could be easily interpreted as Ahmedabad. Amid concerns over security in the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped in and directed urgent steps to beef up protective measures in the complex. He asked Chidambaram and Law Minister Salman Khurshid to call on Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and take 'urgent steps' to further strengthen the security arrangements. The sources said the code numbers used by them can be interpreted as Ahmedabad. Soon after the blast, the CJI had reviewed security arrangements in the Supreme Court, High Court and other subordinate courts in the capital. Chidambaram said a 'strong' team of investigators, comprising specialised National Investigative Agency (NIA) and Delhi Police, are pursuing the blast case vigorously. Delhi Police has constituted three teams comprising 200 policemen to investigate the blast case. The teams under Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ashok Chand will also interact with the specially-constituted 20-member NIA group. 'As far as investigations are concerned, there are promising leads but I can't yet call them very conclusive leads,' the Home Minister said. He said all information and leads are being taken seriously and being pursued by the investigators round-the- clock. 'I wish to emphasise round-the-clock as we are seeking help from other agencies from around the world too. Therefore, these leads are pursued round-the-clock by very strong team that have been constituted by NIA and Delhi Police. All other agencies are helping,' he said. Chidambaram said a detailed advisory has been sent to states reiterating earlier advisory and asking them to enhance vigil against similar terrorist attacks particularly in metropolitan areas and in big towns. Owners and managements of such institutes, which usually attract large public congregation, have been advised to ensure strict access control and security related survillance in respect of suspicious persons and objects, he said. Chidambaram said security arrangements in Delhi are being reviewed and instructed to use optimum resources available and ensure synergy between all agencies in emmergency response. With regard to the High Court blast, Chidambaram said preliminary findings of the forensic examination conducted by different teams of forensic experts indicated presence of nitrate-based explosives and traces of some other explosives as well. 'These findings are reconciled to get a clear picture of exact nature of the explosives used in the blast,' he said. The Home Minister described the period begining August 15 to end of december as very sensitive as several festivals and like 9-11 fall during this period. 'So this is always a difficult period. We will do our best to secure people of India. We are doing our best... The police is doing their best (to protect the people', the police is doing their best,' he said. Chidambaram asked people to remain alert and report to police they find any unidentified object or a suspicious person or any suspicious movement. He gave a list about the steps being taken to strengthen the country's police forces that include recruitment of one lakh policemen in the Central Para-military Forces (CPMF) in last two years and one lakh policemen the state police forces. 'The CPMF is having another one lakh this year and the states are expected to add one more lakh. But that still leaves vacancy of 5 to 6 lakh across the country,' he said. Describing these vacancies a result of 'cumulutive neglect of many many years', Chidambaram said, 'I can raise fingers but I won't do that.' He said India began to address the issue of 'cumulative neglect' after November 2008 attack like the US started doing it after 9-11. While the US has reached a comfortable stage, 'we have reached a modest level in two years... It will take time,' he said as he sought cooperation in terms of intelligence from everyone, including chowkidars. As investigators across several states dig hard for clues in Delhi blast case, they are not ruling out the possibility of involvement of some of the 11 fugitive Indian Mujahideen operatives amid indications that the outfit was getting reactivated after a three-year lull. Top police sources said today the anti-terror squads of various states were working on the case but none of them has got any substantive lead in the probe into Wednesday's blast. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility of some of the 11 fugitive Indian Mujahideen operatives who were allegedly involved in 2008 Delhi serial blasts, having played a part in Wednesday's terror attack. Another source maintained that unlike this time, in earlier cases there were ample evidence available for the anti-terror squads to make out which IM modules were involved. 'In this case, so far we don't have a face of the attackers. They are not like robbers whose compendium we have. We have to begin from the scratch. Various teams are looking but there is no clue emerging,' the source admitted. He said that since 2008, there was a lull in IM's activities and now it appeared that it has been reactivated. A senior police official said the initial forensic reports suggested the presence of PETN (Pentaerythritol tetranitrate). Investigators suspect that the explosive was made with PETN, nitrate components and some fuel. 'We are awaiting the final report,' the official said, adding the bomb used in the May 25 blast outside High Court was different. 'The contents of both the bombs were different,' they said. Sources also pointed out that the Home Ministry had handed over 9-10 intelligence alerts about possible terror attacks but they were specific to Independence Day. 'It originated from Bangladesh and Pakistan. They were limited to August 15,' they said. On the sketeches, the sources said, the ones prepared by Delhi Police were being compared by other state police forced to check whether they had any similarity with suspects in cases there. Meanwhile, Home Minister P Chidambaram today disagreed with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that multiplicity of agencies hampered action against terror, saying no single body can alone handle internal and external intelligence, policing and counter terrorism. He also dismissed Delhi LG Tejinder Khanna's claim that there was no actionable intelligence to the Delhi Police about possible terror strike in the national capital. 'That is not correct. In any country the security establishment has many organisations. In the US, there is FBI, there is CIA...There is NCTC. In UK, there is Scotland Yard... there is Constabulary...There is MI 5, there is MI 6. 'There is no way one agency can handle internal intelligence and external intelligence, policing, counter terrorism. That is simply not possible,' he said replying to a question about Dikshit speaking about problem of multiplicity of agencies functioning in the capital city. The Home Minister said the Delhi chief minister may have mentioned multifarious functions that have to come together. 'For example, PWD tendering process for CCTV, there is another organisation which has to install CCTV. What she was mentioning was that different organisations have to come together to perform different functions so as to execute the project. That is absolutely true. But the art of leadership is to bring all these organisations together and make them work together,' he said. Referring to Khanna's remarks that he did not receive any intelligence input about the possibility of any terror attack, Chidambaram said 'I don't know whether all inputs reach LG'. 'I have a copy of the intelligence inputs that was shared with Delhi Police. I have read it myself. Intelligence will never be an invitation card. It does not describe date, time and place. Intelligence can be only a broad indication.


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