Arrested LeT man is close to Hafiz Saeed, say police (Lead)

June 5th, 2009 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) A top operative of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who was arrested here is a close aide of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attack, Delhi Police said Friday.
Joint Commissioner (Special Cell) P.N. Aggarwal also said that Mohammed Umer Madani, 50, who headed the LeT in Nepal, was “talent spotting” Indians for terrorist activities for sending them for training in Pakistan.

“Madani is a close associate of Hafiz Saeed and has met him regularly since his recruitment into the outfit in 1998,” Aggarwal told reporters.

Saeed, whose LeT is accused of slaughtering over 170 people in the Mumbai attack in November last year, was released from custody in Pakistan earlier this week after being held for six months under house arrest. New Delhi has criticised Saeed’s release, and so have the US and France.

Madani came to Delhi Thursday from Kathmandu to give money to LeT contacts here and to seek their help to recruit two people in Delhi for sending them for terrorist training in Pakistan, Aggarwal said.

His arrest Friday followed an input from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last month that a Pakistan-trained militant, Mohammed Umer, formerly of Bihar, was working as an organiser for LeT in Nepal motivating young men for jehad and sending them to Pakistan for weapons training.

Madani also intended to pass on money and fake currency provided by LeT to its various modules based in different parts of India, said Aggarwal.

Police recovered $8,000, Rs.50,000 in fake Indian currency, Rs.4,067 in Nepali currency, a Nepali citizenship card and driving licence, terrorist codes, train tickets, STD/ISD slips of calls made to Pakistan and Nepal, and other incriminating documents and diaries from Madani’s possession.

According to police, Madani was born and brought up in Madhubani in Bihar but shifted to Nepal 20-25 years ago with his family. One of his brothers, Hafiz Mohammed Zubair, 40, also works for LeT and operates from Qatar.

Madani is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, English, Bengali and Nepali.

Aggarwal said Madani started his madrassa in Saptari, Nepal, 1n 1995 and opened another one in Kathmandu the next year. In 2000, he opened a travel agency in Kathmandu to mask his activities.

In 2008, LeT asked Madani to recruit at least two people, one having knowledge of computers and the other at least a graduate in Delhi, Mumbai Kolkata and Chennai each, Aggrawal said.

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