A Pakistani terrorist arrested yesterday in Delhi recced 10 spots in the capital and routinely sent details to his handlers in Pakistan, police sources said today, giving details gleaned from his interrogation. Mohammad Ashraf has allegedly told the police that he surveyed the Delhi High Court before the 2011 blast.
He has also revealed that he tracked the movement of army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and regularly changed his phone numbers to stay below the radar.
Mohammad Ashraf, 40, arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell with a cache of weapons, was planning a big terror strike in the festival season, according to Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
His questioning will reveal whether he was involved in any terror attack in Delhi or any other city, said the police.
Besides the High Court, Ashraf allegedly surveyed other prime spots like India Gate, the old Delhi Police Headquarters, Red Fort and the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Kashmiri Gate and sent details to his Pakistani handlers.
Ashraf “couldn’t do a proper recce” at the Delhi Police headquarters because he was not allowed to hover near the spot, he has allegedly told investigators.
He was also involved in tracking the movements of soldiers and their vehicles in Jammu and Kashmir, the police said.
“He kept in touch with his family in Pakistan,” said sources.
“His handlers in the ISI (Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence) sent him photos of his targets and the location to be recced. They also gave him information on the delivery of weapons but he was never aware of the sender and receiver of the consignment,” they added.
He also changed his number every six months to avoid detection and rarely used WhatsApp or messages to contact his handlers.
Asraf, said to be a resident of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was held from Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi. The police found an AK-47 rifle, a grenade and pistols with him.
He had got a forged national ID from a village sarpanch in Bihar, sources said.
He allegedly revealed to the police that he entered India by first going to Bangladesh and then travelling to Kolkata in West Bengal. He visited Ajmer Sharif, where he met people from Bihar whom he accompanied to their village. “In Bihar, he gained the trust of a sarpanch and obtained his Indian national ID from him,” said sources.
The police said Ashraf had been living in the country for 13 years using forged documents.
He is from Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab and was recruited by the ISI right after he passed Class 10, said the police.