Dossier: handlers used virtual number to contact a mobile with one of the terrorists
New Delhi: Amidst the clutter of telephone calls the Indian intelligence
agencies were monitoring into and out of the Taj Mahal hotel on the night of
the November 26 terrorist attack was one from a 'virtual number' -
12012531824 - generated by a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony
service based in the United States.
According to the dossier prepared by the Indian government outlining select
details of what investigators have uncovered so far about last November's
Mumbai attacks, Pakistan-based "controllers/handlers used the virtual number
to contact a mobile telephone with one of the terrorists. This conversation
was intercepted and, thereafter, all calls made through the virtual number
were also intercepted and recorded."
Providing the first-ever details of the investigations into the VoIP
account, the dossier says the virtual number was initially set up with a
U.S. company, Callphonex, by an individual who identified himself as Kharak
Singh from India.
The account was activated by a money gram transferred in the name of
Mohammed Ashfaq. "Kharak Singh also requested Callphonex to assign five
Austrian Direct Inward Dialling (DID) numbers because his clients called
from different countries, including India," the dossier says. The account
was paid for by a money transfer of $238.78 through Western Union by one
Javaid Iqbal who provided, as a form of identification, a Pakistani passport
(No. KC 092481).
The dossier adds: "Investigations have revealed that Callphonex asked Kharak
Singh if he was from India why the Western Union Transfer was coming from
Apparently, Callphonex received no reply. The VoIP interceptions yielded
more evidence to Indian agencies as they revealed the use of three Austrian
numbers "which were given to the terrorists by the controllers/handlers and
conversations with these numbers by the terrorists were also intercepted and
recorded," the dossier notes.
These Austrian numbers, in turn, correspond to the DID numbers assigned by
Callphonex to 'Kharak Singh.' The details of the VoIP account are one of
multiple pieces of evidence the Indian government has laid out before
Pakistan and all Delhi-based foreign envoys to prove its claim that the
attacks on Mumbai were staged by elements from Pakistan.
Several ambassadors who were present at the region-wise briefings at the
Ministry of External Affairs on Monday and Tuesday told The Hindu that they
found the Indian dossier compelling. "It is fully in line with our own
belief of how this incident was planned," said one of the envoys from the
group of 14 countries who lost citizens in the attacks.
In their oral presentations, Indian officials told the envoys of their
belief that the ISI was indeed involved in the incident. Though this claim
was not contested, at least one nation, the United States, has told India it
is still not in a position to share this perception.
One of the transcripts contained in the dossier provides the answer to why
the terrorists left their satellite phone behind on the Kuber with
potentially incriminating data. "Did you open the locks for the water
below," a caller from Pakistan asked one of the terrorists at the Taj Hotel
at 0126 hours on November 27, presumably in a reference to a pre-arranged
plan to sink the trawler. "No, they did not open the locks. We left it like
that because of being in a hurry. We made a big mistake," the receiver of
the phone call answered. "What big mistake?," he was asked. "When we were
getting into the boat, the waves were quite high. Another boat came.
Everyone raised an alarm that the Navy had come. Everyone jumped quickly. In
this confusion, the satellite phone of Ismail got left behind," the
terrorist replied. The dossier also notes in passing that the GPS set
contained trackback points which "were the RV for their intended return
after the attack."
At Monday's briefing for the 14 nations who lost citizens in the attack, one
of the ambassadors asked Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon whether this
meant the attack was perhaps not a suicide mission after all. Mr. Menon
reportedly said that this was one of the issues which still needed to be
The dossier also contains a second section in which India has attempted to
draw attention to the contradictory nature of Pakistan's response to the
Mumbai attacks, Pakistan's failure to respond appropriately to Indian
requests for cooperation when evidence was provided to it about terrorist
acts in the past, and an outline of Pakistan's bilateral and international
commitments and obligations.
The last section of the dossier contains an outline of what India expects
Pakistan to do in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. "This was a conspiracy