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No evidence so far of local involvement

Praveen Swami

MUMBAI: Sources in the joint Mumbai Police-Intelligence Bureau investigation team, probing last week’s terror attack, said efforts to harvest further evidence through exploring the Lashkar’s possible local infrastructure have so far yielded little.

Police were investigating the possible role of a Mumbai smuggling syndicate run by city resident Ali Mohammad Sheikh. Investigators had explored the possibility that Sheikh may have been involved in facilitating the landing of the 10 fidayeen on Mumbai’s coast and the providing local infrastructure needed for target reconnaissance.

“No substance”

However, police sources said, both source reports and Kamaal’s interrogation suggested that no local Lashkar supporters were involved in the execution of Wednesday’s terror attack.

Police sources also said there was no substance in reports that the terrorists had communicated with their command headquarters in Pakistan using mobile phones.

Reports that Lashkar operatives had checked into one or more hotels prior to the attacks, and rented accommodation in Mumbai’s Coloba area remain unsubstantiated.

FBI team in fracas

A Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) team, which flew in from the U.S., was briefly detained at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport here, after Customs officials refused to allow forensics equipment on board their aircraft on Indian soil.

India had granted permission to the FBI to examine the sites involved in the fidayeen attack, since U.S. nationals were also targeted.

Kept in the dark

However, government sources said, the team arrived here without providing prior lists of personnel and the specialised forensic equipment they were carrying.

“Since Customs officials in Mumbai had no idea what the FBI team was carrying,” a New Delhi-based Ministry of Home Affairs official in New Delhi said, “they naturally asked for an explanation”.

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