Thursday, August 13, 2009

FBI says 26/11 terrorists came from Karachi, confirms Pak link: The Hindu

Reinforcing the Pakistan link to the Mumbai terror attack, the FBI on Wednesday told a special court their probe had established that terrorists had come from Karachi to this city and the Global Positioning systems (GPS) recovered from them also indicated their plan to return to Pakistan.

In a crucial testimony at the trial of the lone surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab, an official of the U.S.' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is giving evidence for the first time in India in terror cases said the terorists had used the GPS, a satellite navigation system to locate targets.

Deposing in person before Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani, a forensic expert of the U.S.' Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose identity has been kept secret, said one of the GPS devices allegedly recovered by Mumbai Police from slain terrorists also indicated that they had planned return journey from Mumbai to Rawalpindi.

Two other GPS devices indicated plans for return journey from Mumbai to Karachi but one indicated from Mumbai to Rawalpindi, the expert said.

Kasab, a Pakistani national, sat smiling all through while the FBI official gave the evidence.

The planned return journey from Mumbai to Rawalpindi showed that the terrorists were given practical training in Pakistan to use GPS, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told PTI.

The forensic expert said that "Way Point" data retrieved from the GPS devices pointed to the route from Karachi to Mumbai and also positions between these two cities.

The FBI official said he had examined five GPS devices and a satellite phone which Mumbai police had recovered from the terrorists.

Mr. Nikam further said the police are still investigating the numbers from where the calls were made to the recovered satellite phone.

It is the case of prosecution that terrorists were in touch with their handlers in Pakistan while committing terror attacks in Mumbai.

Kasab's lawyer Abbas Kazmi dubbed the evidence of FBI witness as "manipulated" and claimed that the investigating agency wanted to help Mumbai police.

Mr. Kazmi alleged that the software used by FBI to conduct forensic tests on GPS devices and satellite phone was not authenticated and anyone could have manipulated the tests.

Mumbai police had recovered five GPS devices and a satellite phone from the slain terrorists. These were sent to FBI laboratory in USA for forensic tests and the report submitted by an expert was placed before the court on Wednesday.

The forensic expert told prosecutor Nikam that he had examined the GPS devices and satellite phone.

The witness said out of the five GPS devises, two were not functioning as their batteries were discharged and hence the data could not be retrieved from them. However, other GPS devices had clearly showed the route between these two cities.

The witness handed over hard and soft copies of the data report submitted by him to Mumbai police earlier.

The expert told prosecutor Nikam that he had examined these devices on February 11 and completed the examination by February 18.

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