India says Pak ISI behind Bombay blasts

AP/NY Times:

The police officer leading the investigation into train bombings that killed more than 200 people in the Indian city of Mumbai in July accused Pakistan's spy agency on Saturday of masterminding the attack.

Tariq Azim, Pakistan's minister of state for information, denied the claim, calling it ''sad and unfortunate.''


Mumbai police Commissioner A.N. Roy said an intensive investigation that included using truth serum on suspects revealed that Pakistan's top spy agency had ''masterminded'' the bombings.

Roy said Pakistan's Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, began planning the attacks in March and later provided training to those who carried out the bombings in Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

''The terror plot was ISI sponsored and executed by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives with help from the Students Islamic Movement of India,'' Roy said at a news conference to announce the completion of the investigation.

Lashkar is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, while the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, is a banned Islamic group.

So far 15 people have been arrested, including 11 Pakistanis, Roy said, adding that three Indians were still on the run and another Pakistani was killed in one of the blasts.


The Indian allegation came days after the BBC reported that a document prepared for Britain's Defense Ministry accused ISI of indirectly supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaida.


Roy gave a detailed description of how the explosives were transported into India and by whom. He also described how the bombs were packed into pressure cookers and placed on the trains.

Roy said the Pakistanis slipped into India, some going over their shared border, while others went through neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh. There they were met by Indians who brought them to Mumbai and housed them in rented apartments, he said.

Most of the omitted material was about Pakistani denials of responsibility. What makes the denials seem hollow is the mounting evidence to the contrary. It is as if the ISI produces a perp from timte to time to throw off suspicion while many in the agency continue to plot or at least look the other way while others plot.


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