Faheem Ansari, also known as Mohammad Faheem Ansari, is an Indian national who was alleged to be a member of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), an organisation considered terrorist by India and the United States, among others. He was arrested on 10 February 2008 along with five others, charged in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and later acquitted.
Ansari's family was originally from Uttar Pradesh, but he was born and raised in Mumbai. He is married to Yasmin, with whom he has a daughter, Iqra. He joined the Lashkar e Toiba in 2003 while working in Dubai. In 2007, he returned to Mumbai and stayed there for about three months. Though his parents and brothers were residing in the Goregaon suburb of the city, he made no attempt to contact them during his entire stay. He first stayed at a guest house in Grant Road, but after a few weeks rented a small accommodation. Ansari had initially planned on renting an accommodation in Colaba, but due to the high rent there, decided to settle at Grant Road.
The Mumbai police alleged that Ansari did a reconnaissance of several prominent Mumbai landmarks, including the Mumbai Stock Exchange, the Mumbai police headquarters at Crawford Market, the Maharashtra police headquarters at Colaba, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Siddhivinayak temple. Ansari went to the Taj Hotel and Oberoi Trident as a tourist and shot video footage of the interiors. He also videotaped the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Nariman House, and hand-drew the maps of all the 26/11 targets. In December 2007, Ansari travelled to Kathmandu, where he met and handed over the material to his associate, Sabahuddin Shaikh. He then travelled on a Pakistani passport to Karachi and gave the maps to an LET member named Muzammil.
On 10 February 2008, Uttar Pradesh police arrested Ansari along with five others. These included Pakistani nationals Romez alias "Amar Singh" and Sehwez alias "Ajay Malhotra" and Indian nationals Sohel, Sawauddin (or Sabauddin) Sanju and Baba Jung Bahadur. He was arrested for his involvement with an attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur on 31 December 2007, in which 7 paramilitary personnel and 1 civilian were killed. The interrogation revealed that Ansari had performed reconnaissance over twelve places in Mumbai, including government, police, transportation, tourist and financial sites over the course of two months. However, Ansari later alleged that the Mumbai police conveniently made him a scapegoat and deliberately falsified evidence against him.
Alleged role in the Mumbai attacks and acquittal
On 31 December 2008, Ansari, along with Sabauddin Shaikh, was formally accused of aiding the November 2008 attackers in Mumbai. The interrogation of Ajmal Kasab and of Ansari, revealed that none of the attackers had been in the city before the attacks, and acted solely on intelligence provided by Ansari. On 11 February 2010, his lawyer Shahid Azmi was murdered in what was suspected by authorities to be a professional contract killing. On 3 May 2010, Ansari and the co-accused Sabauddin Shaikh were acquitted of any complicity in the attacks. In the acquittal, the Judge blasted the Mumbai police for the case it made against him and Sabauddin Shaikh. They were shifted from Arthur Road Jail to Uttar Pradesh to stand trial in connection with the CRPF camp attack at Rampur in 2007.
Advocate Ejaz Naqvi, the lawyer for Ansari, presented in court an allegation that a female FBI agent had removed all of Ansari's clothes and showed him pornographic films. Naqvi also requested that Ansari be taken for a medical examination. The court asked the Crime Branch to investigate and report by 26 February 2009, and ordered the medical examination. Ansari had earlier questioned the right of FBI agents to interrogate him.
- Khan, Atiq (30 November 2008). "U.P. to sensitise hoteliers on security issues". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- "Yet another terror plot to target Mumbai foiled". Indo Asian News Service. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- "26/11 attacks: Ansari, Sabauddin remanded to police custody". Indian Express – citing agencies. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- NDTV correspondent (30 March 2009). "Co-accused Fahim Ansari, Sabahuddin, acquitted". NDTV. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "It is an honourable acquittal, says Faheem Ansari's wife". The Times of India. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Baweja 2009, pp. 164–165
- "Faheem Ansari, Sabauddin shifted to UP". Indian Express. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Hafeez, Mateen (17 February 2008). "LeT man did recce of 12 places in Mumbai". Times of India. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- Hafeez, Mateen (2 January 2009). "'Kasab, aides never did city recce'". Times of India. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- Blakely, Rhys (12 February 2010). "Mumbai terror lawyer Shahid Azmi killed in 'professional hit'". Times of India. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- NDTV correspondent (3 May 2010). "Co-accused Fahim Ansari, Sabahuddin, acquitted". NDTV. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Leach, Ben (11 February 2009). "Female FBI officer 'tortured Mumbai terror attacks suspect with sex'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- Kartikeya (10 February 2009). "LeT man accuses FBI agent of 'sexual assault'". Times of India. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
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