HINDUSTAN TIMES, NEW DELHI | ABHISHEK SHARAN | Fri, Sep 24, 1:41 AM
Sept. 24--NEW DELHI -- Though the CBI has sought to establish the hand of a Hindu terror group in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, a US counter-terrorism agency thinks otherwise. According to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the blast was allegedly executed by a Pakistan-sponsored terror outfit, the Harkat ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI).
NCTC director Michael Leiter, submitted as much in his 'Statement for the Record' before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Wednesday.
Before the CBI took over the case, the Hyderabad police too had named the HuJI as the blast's alleged executor.
"The group also has been involved in multiple, high-casualty attacks... in India in May 2007 that killed 16," read Leiter's statement.
He added, "HuJI has collaborated with Al-Qaeda on attacks and training for HuJI members. In January 2009, a federal grand jury indicted HUJI commander Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri in absentia for a disrupted terrorist plot against a newspaper in Denmark."
The group was also allegedly involved in an attack against Pakistani intelligence and police facilities in Lahore in 2009 that killed 23, according to Leiter.
CBI's probe findings, however, have claimed that an Indore-based terror outfit whose members were allegedly linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh perpetrated the mosque attack.
The agency has arrested two accused in the case -- Lokesh Sharma and Devender Gupta -- and is looking for the alleged bomb makers, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra.
"The NCTC does not seem to be updated with the developments in the case, which is surprising," said a senior CBI investigator when HT asked him about the US agency's version on the attack's suspected perpetrators.