Ansari Arranged $ 100,000 For Omar

by Siddharth Srivastava
The Times of India
February 14, 2002


NEW DELHI: Aftab Ansari, the main suspect in the Kolkata attack, arranged for $ 100,000 for Omar Sheikh, prime accused in the kidnapping of WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl, CBI officials said on Wednesday.

Ansari exchanged a series of e-mails with Omar Sheikh and Asif Reza Khan in August 2001, where he was asked to help out with a 'noble cause'. Khan was shot dead in an encounter with the Gujarat Police on December 7 last. Indian officials interrogating Ansari said that, on August 8, 2001, Ansari asked Khan over e-mail whether he agreed to part with $ 100,000 for a 'noble cause' as requested by Sheikh.

Khan agreed to the proposition, and the next day, sent an e-mail back saying that he is "agreeable and has no objections".

Two days later, on August 11, Ansari sent an e-mail to Khan saying that "the amount mentioned had been sent to Sheikh", officials said.

On August 19, Sheikh e-mailed Ansari again, saying, "The money that was sent has been passed on."

Officials said the e-mails also hint at Ansari's possible linkages with the al-Qaeda network. The e-mails also refute Pakistani authorities' rebuttal of their nexus with the deported gangster.

Interestingly, the mode of communication adopted by them is similar to that used by Mohammad Atta and other al-Qaeda members to carry out the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in the US. This gives credence to the perception that Ansari had arranged $ 100,000 for the terror attacks on America, officials said.

Ansari is in CBI's custody. He was deported by the UAE to India on Saturday. Omar Sheikh was arrested on Tuesday by the Pakistani police. He has reportedly confessed to kidnapping Pearl.

According to sources, the CBI has asked two e-mail service providers, Yahoo and Hotmail, to furnish the printouts of all e-mails sent by Ansari in the past one year. The two have agreed to cooperate with the CBI, though the process of locating Ansari's e-mails is going to be a tedious and time-consuming job, sources said.

The contents of some of the e-mails have been shared with the Interpol, FBI and other foreign investigating agencies, officials said.

Copyright 2002 The Times of India.

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