30 November 2008

Terrorists stayed in room 630, had many visitors

Terrorists stayed in room 630, had many visitors
Rashmi Rajput, Priyanka Kakodkar (NDTV)
Sunday, November 30, 2008 1:09 AM (Mumbai)
Immediate tragedy and crisis has only just given way to the investigation process, and already it is clear that the terrorists who held Mumbai hostage for almost three days had planned far greater mayhem.As the body count in the Mumbai terror attacks went up to almost 200, exclusive details were fast emerging by Saturday evening that the terrorists had plans to blow up the landmark Taj hotel at the Gateway of India, in an explosion similar to the one at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad recently.Much of the information has come from the lone terrorist arrested and now in police custody -- A A Qasab, who reportedly belongs to Faridkot in Pakistan.Mumbai Police said Qasab had made clear that he believed he had done right and had no regrets. He reportedly said the plan was to blow up the entire heritage hotel, which is a landmark that represents the city."We wanted to blow up the Taj," he is said to have told the police.Police said the operation had been planned for months, and a detailed recce was done four months ago by another group. They took satellite pictures of the hotels and various locations and prepared detailed maps.Qasab. and an associate, had booked rooms in the Taj where they kept the ammunition. They stayed in room 630, had booked the room for four days and had many visitors. Police are now trying to locate these visitors.The room was booked using fake identity cards from Mauritius and the terrorists posed as students, the police said.In other information that Qasab has reportedly given is that he had plans to enter the Times of India building, but had to change his plans as he was fired on by the police.He has also said that he and his associate Ismail Khan were the ones who shot Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, and top cops Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamthe. Hemant Karkare's funeral was held on Saturday.The first to be shot was Vijay Salaskar; Ashok Kamthe was next, and finally Hemant Karkare. Qasab was in touch on phone with his team's chief, who gave him instructions.Meanwhile, the Internet Protocol address of the Deccan Mujahideen, the group that sent an e-mail claiming responsibility, has been traced to outside India.And in an ominous lead that echoes the 1993 terror attacks in Mumbai, the police have said that the involvement of the underworld led by Dawood Ibrahim is being investigated and cannot be ruled out.

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