Top LeT ultra, who got 60 BSNL SIMs arrested
28 June 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Rajouri Police today smashed a parallel communication network being run by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen cadre with the arrest of two persons including a top Lashkar ultra, who had so far procured 60 BSNL mobile SIM cards for the militants. With today's arrests and disclosures made by them, police have virtually succeeded in identifying all mobile telephone numbers of LeT and HM top brass in Rajouri and parts of Poonch district. With the help of BSNL authorities, these telephone numbers have been put on surveillance, official sources told the Excelsior. Involvement of some BSNL franchises including a leading franchise of Gandhi Nagar, Jammu is also under investigation. Majority of pre-paid SIM cards of BSNL had been issued from a BSNL franchise at Bahu Plaza. A top LeT militant, who was arrested this morning by Rajouri police from the house of his in-laws in Rajouri town along with five more BSNL cards which he was going to give to a top Lashkar commander for further distribution, has been identified as Mohd Javed son of Qazi Mohd Alam, a resident of Fazlabad, Poonch. A BSNL Bahu Plaza franchise worker Sandeep Kumar, a resident of Nanak Nagar, Jammu, who had been procuring SIM cards for Mohd Javed has also been arrested but, according to police sources, Sandeep was not aware of Javed's militant connections and was selling SIM cards to him presuming that he was selling the cards to local people charging commission. Javed had also constructed a house at Chinore, Jammu with money given to him by Lashkar cadre to set up their hide-out. He also had a house at Fazlabad in Poonch but was mostly staying in the house of his in- laws in Rajouri town, the sources said. The Lashkar militant and Sandeep Kumar had developed a unique modus operandi to get BSNL's pre-paid SIM cards for the militants on the name of persons, who were not even aware that Lashkar and Hizbul commanders were using mobile telephones on their names. They used to get forms filled by an individual for procuring a pre-paid Excel card removed from a franchise and then use similar information in another form and get a pre-paid card on his name. The card was then handed over to the militants. This way, Mohd Javed had managed to draw at least 60 BSNL SIM cards from Bahu Plaza franchise of the BSNL with the help of Sandeep Kumar and distributed them among militants. The militant commanders had started using mobile network to stay in touch with each other after their wireless messages were mostly being intercepted by security forces and police, leading to many successful operations against them. According to sources, the BSNL franchise holder had issued SIM cards 'ignoring the guidelines set by the BSNL for issuance of pre-paid cards only to make quick money'. The forms had been attested using fake stamps of gazetted officers, which have also been seized by police from the possession of militant. Police said role of a top BSNL franchise of Gandhi Nagar is also being investigated. More arrests in this connection were on the cards. Meanwhile, police have so far obtained a list of 30 pre-paid BSNL telephones, which were being used by LeT and HM commanders in Rajouri and Poonch and got them put under surveillance. List of 30 more numbers is under the process of being prepared, the sources said. Some vital clues have already started pouring in from conversation of the militant commanders, they added. Sources said the racket of procuring BSNL SIM cards by the militants had surfaced after a SPO-turned-Hizbul militant Yasin rang up Rajouri Police Control Room (PCR) on May 25 afternoon when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was attending a Round Table conference on Kashmir in Srinagar and claimed that several civilians had been massacred in Kandi. Yasin had posed as a Sarpanch of Kandi. On verifications, police discovered that Yasin had rang up the PCR and not the Sarpanch from his mobile telephone. The telephone number was traced and it was found that it had been issued on the name of an engineer of Sarwal working for a private company. Questioning of the engineer revealed that a second mobile telephone number had been issued on his name. Further investigations by police led to busting of the racket, the sources said. Meanwhile, out of 10 BSNL SIM cards, which were in possession of a top LeT militant Noor Illahi alias Tipu arrested from Malik Market, Narwal, and his associates in Mendhar, one telephone number 94196-60009 had been wrongly mentioned. It was in the possession of a civilian, the sources added.