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26/11 calls traced to Pak serving colonel

26/11 calls traced to Pak serving colonel

Author: C Unnikrishnan, S Ahmed Ali & Kartikeya
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 26, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2611-calls-traced-to-Pak-serving-colonel/articleshow/4190923.cms

Introduction: Probe Links Terror Talk to Rawalpindi-Based Signals Corps Officer

The VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls made by the 26/11 terrorists to their handlers have been traced to a serving colonel of the Pakistani army, investigations have revealed.

Although the 11,509-page chargesheet in the 26/11 case filed by the Mumbai police on Wednesday does not spell this out explicitly, it does name the officer as Colonel R Sadatullah from the SCO.

The SCO, army sources say, stands for Special Communications Organization, a telecommunications agency of the Pakistani government which is run by officers from the army's signals corps and operates only in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the conflict-wracked Northern Areas.

During the 58-hour siege of Mumbai, a total of 284 calls, running into 995 minutes, were made by the terrorists using mobile phones from the Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi-Trident and Nariman House to their handlers in Pakistan. They took the minutest of instructions from their handlers sitting in Pakistan. The Pak-based co-conspirators also gave their agents in Mumbai pep talks to keep them going.

The chargesheet says that the calls which were made over VoIP - a cheap way of making international calls using the net - were traced back to an IP address created with Callphonex, a VoIP service provider based in New Jersey, USA.

The payments for this were made by opening an account in the name of Kharak Singh from India. However, the payments to this account were made on two occasions by wire transfer through MoneyGram and Western Union Money Transfer by two Pakistani nationals, Javed Iqbal and Mohammed Ishtiaq.

These two, while communicating with Callphonex, used the e-mail id kharak_telco@yahoo.com. This e-mail id was accessed from at least 10 IP addresses, says the chargesheet. One of them, 118.107.140.138, belongs to Col R Sadatullah whose official address is SCO, Qasim Rd, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Sadatullah's official e-mail id is pmit@sco.gov.pk, which police say is the official e-mail service for all SCO officers.

One of the wanted accused is `Major General sahab' whose name crops up repeatedly in the taped conversation between the terrorists and their handlers. Incidentally, the general manager of SCO happens to be Major General Muhammad Khalid Rao, who joined the Signals Corps in 1979.

Asked about the involvement of the Pakistani army, joint commissioner (crime) Rakesh Maria said, ``We are looking into the involvement of two army personnel, who could be supposedly serving or retired.''

The chargesheet is against 38 persons, 35 of them yet to be apprehended. The three who are in police custody include the lone Pakistani terror operative caught alive, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and two Indians, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ansari.

The 35 wanted accused include high-profile Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives. Kasab was not brought to court because of security concerns. Described as an LeT operative responsible for the conspiracy and the attack on Mumbai, he was charged under nine different laws, including waging war on the government of India under the Indian Penal Code. The other charges are under the Foreigners' Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Railways Protection Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act, the Bombay Police Act and the Customs Act.


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