Zabiuddin Ansari

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Sayed Zabiuddin
aka Abu Jundal
aka Abu Hamza
Born 30 November 1981 (1981-11-30) (age 40)
Georai, Beed district in Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian, Pakistani
Occupation Islamic Fundamentalist/Terrorist
Organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, Indian Mujahideen
Religion Sunni Islam

Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Hamza aka Abu Jundal is an Indian national[1], Islamic Fundamentalist/Terrorist (disputed) belonging to Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is accused of being involvemed in 2008 Mumbai attacks. Zabiuddin Ansari (Abu Hamza)'s name was listed in the list of "50 most wanted criminals sheltered in Pakistan" released by India on 21 May 2011.[2][3] He had served as the handler of the 10 LeT terrorists during 2008 Mumbai attacks. He is a suspect or an accused in several cases such as the Ahmedabad railway station blast case of February 19, 2006, the Aurangabad arms haul case of May 2006 and co-accused in German bakery blast case.[4] He was deported from Saudi Arabia on 25 June 2012 and is currently in the custody of Indian security agencies.[5]

Early life and marriage

Zabiuddin was born on 30 November 1980[6] in a village Hathi Khana mohalla in Georai area of Beed district in Maharashtra in western India.[7] His father Syed Zakiuddin had worked as an insurance agent.[8] Syed Zakiuddin's family consists of five sisters and one son, Zabiuddin.[7] Zabiuddin had studied in Urdu up to Class X in Georai and joined Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Beed.[6][9]

Ansari moved to Pakistan after his college. He married in 2009 to a Pakistani woman and has a son in Pakistan.[10] The Pakistani passport he used, showed him as a resident of Sheikhpura in Pakistan's Punjab (Pakistan) province.[11]


Zabiuddin went to Pakistan for terror training in mid-2000s and recruited cadres for Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Indian Mujahideen.[6] He was quickly promoted in the ranks of Lashker-e-Taiba after he was indoctrinated by banned SIMI post Gujarat riots in 2002.[12]

Zabiuddin was introduced into LeT by a senior in college Fayaz Kagazi, who is suspected to be in Saudi Arabia. Fayaz also sent him for training to assemble bombs. He narrowly escaped an arrest in 2006 and reached Pakistan via Bangladesh.[10]

Zabiuddin had lived in Pakistan for sometime after which he moved to Saudi Arabia where he worked as a teacher.He had been missing since 2005 and is known to have used at least ten aliases.[13] Jundal also stayed for sometime in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.[13]

The Central security agencies of India had interrogated many arrested terrorists to study the case of Zabiuddin. From these interrogations it was known that he had been operating out of terror camps in Karachi and Pakistan administered Kashmir It was also known that he was a key figure in the terror group Lashker-e-Taiba's plan to carry out the strikes in the remote areas of India.[12]

Mumbai Attacks

Zabiuddin was the Hindi tutor and handler of the 10 terrorists allegedly responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed 165 lives.[12] Zabiuddin is believed to be one of the four LeT men who had come to send off Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists from Karachi a week prior they went to Mumbai.[9]

Investigators allege that Zabiuddin Ansari was present in Lashkar’s Karachi based control room during the Mumbai attack.[14] In telephone conversations between the terrorists and their handlers intercepted during the Mumbai attacks, a person speaking with a marked Mumbai accent can be heard instructing the terrorists to make a list of demands to the media.[15] The men inside the control room also issued instructions to the terrorists on operational decisions including killing hostages.[14]

Zabiuddin has claimed after his arrest that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed was also present in the LeT control room from where they had directed the Mumbai attack terrorist incident. Zabiuddin has also said that ISI and Pakistani army officials were involved in planning Mumbai attacks and had attended the meetings.[16]

According to him, the coordinated attacks were previously scheduled for 2006, using Indian youth for the job. However, a huge cache of AK-47's and RDX, which were to be used for the attacks, was recovered from Aurangabad in 2006 thus leading to the dismantling of the original plot. Subsequently, Abu Hamza fled to Pakistan and along with Lashkar commanders, scouted for Pakistani youth for the attacks. In September 2007, ten people were selected for the mission. In September 2008, these ten terrorists tried sailing to Mumbai from Karachi, but failed to complete their mission due to choppy waters. The LeT terrorists tried again in November 2008 and managed to execute the final attacks.[17]

He was accused of crimes involving the use of weapons, explosives and terrorism.[18] India had secured an Interpol Red Corner notice against him.[12]


Security agencies had been chasing him for 3 years in Delhi.[12] The first tip-off about his presence in Saudi Arabia was given by a terrorist who was arrested by the Indian security agencies in connection with the 2010 Jama Masjid attack.[13]. Intelligence agencies, including western agencies, zoomed in on Ansari's location after he set up a website for recruiting youth for Lashkar under an alias Kaasif. This alias was known as one used by Ansari to the Indian intelligence agencies. Also, the US agencies noticed a high traffic between Ansari's website and other jihadi websites they were monitoring, and they asked Saudi intelligence to detain Ansari[19][20].

The arrest of Abu Jundal could be more significant than that of Ajmal Kasab as Jundal was amongst six main planners of the attacks. His evidence could have more credibility because of his presence in Pakistan. Investigation has confirmed some state support during the attacks when Abu Jundal and others from a control room in Karachi gave orders to 10 attackers.[21][22][23][24]

Diplomatic Negotiations

Initial attempts to get Zabiuddin into custody had failed because although a native of Beed in Maharashtra, he had used a Pakistani passport to travel to Saudi Arabia, under alias Riyasat Ali. The passport also showed his father's name as Mohammed Khushi and residence as to Sheikhupura in Punjab, Pakistan.[25] According to Indian home ministry Pakistan’s ISI exerted immense pressure on Saudi Arabia for months, to prevent Jundal being handed over to India.[26][27] He was considered a prized catch by India, due to his status as a Lashkar-e-Taiba insider who could expose the role of ‘Pakistani state actors’ in the Mumbai attack. In a diplomatic game that involved three countries, India, too, stepped up pressure and sent several documents to the Saudi authorities to establish that Jundal may be using a Pakistani passport, but was actually an Indian citizen.[26]

According to Indian Government sources, his arrest came after months of diplomatic negotiations involving authorities in Riyadh, Washington DC, and New Delhi.[14] Indian dignitaries visiting Saudi Arabia in recent months, had also lobbied Saudi authorities for assistance in Ansari’s case. Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu is known to have directly worked with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, then director General of Saudi Intelligence agency Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah during the investigations.[14] The Indian and Saudi Intelligence services had identified Ansari on the basis of intercepted phone communications.[14]

DNA Identification

DNA test was also used to establish his identity. A DNA sample obtained from Ansari's family was sent to the Saudi authorities by India. The DNA test had matched and Saudi authorities were persuaded for handing him to India.[26][28][25]


On 21 June 2012, the Intelligence Branch took custody of Abu Hamza alias Sayed Zabiuddin on his deportation from Saudi Arabia at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, and on 25 June 2012, formally handed him over to Delhi Police, that announced the arrest, for him to be produced at the New Delhi Court for trial. The arrest of Sayed Zabiuddin was touted as the most significant development in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case after Kasab's arrest.[29]


In July 2012, he was interrogated by several Indian security agencies for several cases of which he is accused of.[30]

Pakistani Passport and IDs

Zabiuddin although being an Indian, held a Pakistani passport and two Pakistani identity cards, which pointed towards Pakistans's complicity.[31] One of the two Pakistani identity cards provided to him was for internal use in Pakistan while the other was to be used outside Pakistan.[32] His Pakistani passport was issued in the name of Riyasat Ali, and was arranged by a senior Lashkar commander and Mumbai attack plotter Muzammil.[32] His Pakistani passport and National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis were made in the name of Riyasat Ali. The documents had mentioned his address at a place close to Muridke, where the Lashkar-e-Taiba headquarter is situated.[30] His National Identity Card also mentions that "he is entitled visa free entry to Pakistan". The special entitlement and the documents were and evidence of high level Pakistani state support to facilitate his seamless travel in and out of Pakistan.[30] However, Pakistan has strongly rejected any insinuation of involvement by state actors in any acts of militancy in India.<refname=pak>"Islamabad rejects its role in Mumbai attacks". Retrieved 2012-07-06. </ref> It is also stated by Consulate General of Pakistan that any National Identity Card holder is entitled to visa free entry into Pakistan and this is not a special treatement.[33] The visa-free entry laws of Pakistan are similar to those in Australia, Canada, Egypt, France and United States. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani while on a visit to India offered a joint investigation into Mumbai attacks.[34]

The Karachi Project

The Karachi Project was created by Pakistani intelligence agency I.S.I. along with Lashkar-e-Taiba to train Indians in Pakistan on bomb blasts. The scheme receives funds from Pakistan and Gulf countries. According to Abu Jundal the scheme continues to be a threat. Accordingly, the Delhi Police has registered a criminal case of conspiracy to launch another terror attack on India.[35][36][37]


  1. "Sirji, Sarabjeet or Surjeet? – The Express Tribune". Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  2. "India releases list of 50 'most wanted fugitives' in Pak". May 12, 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. "India's most-wanted terrorists". Sify News. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  4. "Abu Jundal carried out 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks with Pakistan help: Chidambaram". The Times of India. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  5. "Mumbai attacks 'planner' questioned". BBC News. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Chauhan, Neeraj (26 June 2012). "Abu Jundal was plotting new attack, recruiting terrorists for LeT". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Why no one in Beed knows Zabiuddin". Rediff News. February 9, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  8. "Syed Zabiuddin, the Indian face behind 26/11". Rediff News. 2 February 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ali, S. Ahmed (25 June 2012). "Jundal deported from Saudi Arabia?". Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Abu Jundal: Wanted all over for strikes everywhere, Shalini Narayan, New Delhi, Fri Jun 29 2012,
  11. "Pak passport of Jundal shows him as a resident of Punjab". The Times of India. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 "Key Mumbai terror attack handler arrested in Delhi". 25 June 2012. 
  13. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Swami, Praveen (25 June 2012). "Zabiuddin arrest opens doors for 26/11 probe". the Hindu. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  14. "26/11 tape: Zabiuddin Ansari briefs terrorists". The Hindu. 25 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  15. "Saudis helped India nab 26/11 handler Abu Jundal". The Times of India. 25 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  16. "26/11 had been planned originally for 2006, reveals Abu Hamza". NDTV. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  17. "Key 26/11 terrorist arrested". The Hindu. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  18. "Choice of alias while launching website gave Abu Jundal away". Times of India. June 28, 2012. 
  19. Abu Jundal was plotting new attack, recruiting terrorists for LeT, Neeraj Chauhan, TNN, Jun 26 2012,
  20. 26/11 case: Abu Jindal could be more crucial than Ajmal Kasab, CNN-IBN, Jun 26, 2012,
  21. Why Abu Jundal is a bigger catch than Kasab..., Deepak Nagpal, Wednesday, June 27, 2012,
  22. The possible diplomatic impact of Abu Jundal's arrest, B Raman, June 26, 2012,
  23. India Says Pakistan Aided Planner of Mumbai Attacks, HARI KUMAR, NEW DELHI, June 27, 2012,
  24. 25.0 25.1 Saudi rejected Indian DNA test, so blood sample was sent, Pranab Samanta, New Delhi, Fri Jun 29 2012,
  25. 26.0 26.1 26.2 "DNA test, hard bargain with Saudi nets 26/11 prized catch". hindustan Times. 26 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  26. Abu Hamza was in Saudi Arabia to gather funds for big terror strike; Pakistan tried to prevent his extradition: Sources, Rashmi Rajput, Tanima Biswas, Surabhi Malik, June 26 2012,
  27. "DNA test, voice sample convinced Saudi of Jundal’s nationality". The Times of India. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  28. "Key 26/11 conspirator Abu Hamza arrested at IGI airport in Delhi". IBN Live. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  29. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "Abu Jundal given express treatment by Pakistani government". The Times of India. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  30. PTI (28 June 2012). "India won't share information on Abu Jundal with Pakistan, NIA seeks his custody". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  31. 32.0 32.1 "Abu Jundal escaped arrest in Pakistan at ISI's behest". The Times of India. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  32. "Consulate General of Pakistan - Houston". Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  33. "Islamabad rejects its role in Mumbai attacks". Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  34. ‘Project Karachi’ still a threat to India, reveals 26/11 plotter Jundal, Raj Shekhar, TNN, Jul 22 2012,
  35. The Karachi project, Sandeep Unnithan, February 18 2010,
  36. Karachi Project: A nefarious plan to destabilize India, Raj Narayan , India Syndicate, 28/03/2010,

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