- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 1, 2006

NEW DELHI — India accused Pakistan’s spy agency yesterday of colluding with Islamist militants in a series of bomb attacks that killed 186 persons on trains in Bombay in July.

Bombay’s police commissioner, A.N. Roy, said the “terror plot” was sponsored by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), executed by Pakistani militants and aided by a banned Indian Islamist group.

Commissioner Roy said an intensive investigation, including the use of “narco-analysis tests,” or truth serum, showed that at least 12 Indians and 11 Pakistanis were involved in the bombings.

Security officials said the evidence would be handed over to Islamabad in the next few days.

Pakistan’s junior information minister, Tariq Azim Khan, said the accusations of ISI involvement were “baseless” and a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“India has always chosen this path of pointing fingers at Pakistan without evidence,” he said. “If they have any evidence, they should provide us with it, and we will carry out our investigations.”

Commissioner Roy said the ISI began planning the attacks in March and provided funding and training for the bombers in Bahawalpur, in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.

High-grade plastic explosives were smuggled into Bombay, while funds for the attack came from Pakistan through an operative in Saudi Arabia representing the Pakistani extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Commissioner Roy said.

He said the bombers slipped into India from Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh and were met by Indian “sleepers” from the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

On July 11, the day of the bombings, seven two-person teams — each made up of one Indian and one Pakistani — took the bombs to the Churchgate terminus in south Bombay, he said. They were put on trains and, within 11 minutes, all seven bombs exploded.

Irbaz Khan, a spokesman for Lashkar-e-Taiba, said: “We reject the allegations. They have named us in an effort to cover up their own failure and security lapses.”

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said his government would not judge Pakistan by its “immediate reactions or verbal statements, [but] by what they actually do about terrorism.” India has long called on Pakistan to rein in militants operating from its territory and the disputed Kashmir region.

Mr. Menon said New Delhi would test the efficacy of a new joint India-Pakistan agency to tackle terrorism. “It seems logical that the mechanism has to deal with this kind of evidence,” he said.

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