Arrested LeT man was close aide of Hafiz Saeed: Delhi Police (Second Lead)

June 5th, 2009 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Mohammed Umer Madani, a top operative of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who was arrested here Thursday, headed the outfit’s activities in Nepal and is a close aide of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks, Delhi Police said Friday.
Joint Commissioner (Special Cell) P.N. Aggarwal said Madani, 50, 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,” he told reporters.

Saeed, whose LeT is accused of guiding the slaughter of over 170 people in the Mumbai attacks last November, 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, adding he was to meet Khalid at a predetermined place near Qutab Minar as per the instructions of LeT.

His arrest followed an input from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US 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 currency notes, Rs.4,067 in Nepali currency, a Nepali citizenship card and driving licence, terrorist codes, train tickets, 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 a madrassa in Saptari, Nepal, in 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.

Madani was also assigned the task of cultivating the fishermen in Konkan and Malabar coastal regions for training. Jharkhand was another area where he was asked to do talent hunting for militant activities.

“He was also assigned the task to motivate the people working in fireworks factories in India in order to train them for Improvised Explosive Device (IED) handling. He was also asked to cultivate a person who could carry terrorist funds from Jammu to Srinagar,” said Aggarwal.

The accused has recruited over 30 militants in the LeT including Kamal Ansari, arrested for the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, and three other militants arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell and convicted by Delhi courts.

“They distributed millions of rupees to various LeT modules in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. He used to receive terrorist funding through a well known money transfer agency in Kathmandu,” he said.

Talking about Madani’s entry into LeT, Aggarwal said: “In 1996-97, when he was in Nepal, he was motivated by two members of an Islamic outfit, Markaz-Dawa-Wal-Irshad, namely, Abdul Khalid Saifi and Abdul.

“He got motivated and on their instructions he visited Lahore in 1997. In 1998, he received militant training in LeT camps. He was then assigned the task to make a strong base of LeT in Nepal for easy infiltration of terrorists into India,” he said.

Again, in 2000, he was called by the Jamaat-ud-Daawa leadership and therein he was also given the task to pump terrorist funds into India via Nepal.

Aggarwal said Madani had admitted to have recently received terrorist funds of over $30,000 and over Rs.1 million in fake currency notes for distribution among LeT modules in India.

Asked if he was involved in any terrorist attacks including the 26/11 strike, Aggarwal said: “He was arrested only last evening and the investigations are on at present. We will interogate him (regarding) all terror cases as he was active since 1998.”

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