June 16, 2005

Satellite phones, detonators seized at IGI airport

Pramod K Singh/ New Delhi


16th June 2005

A huge consignment of high-capacity and activated satellite
phones, wireless sets and large number of detonators to be used by various
terrorist outfits in the Kashmir valley, was seized at the Indira Gandhi
International (IGI) airport on Wednesday. The seizure was made by the
Customs' Preventive Unit. The consignment had landed up at the cargo complex
of the IGI on June 8 from Jeddah in Saudia Arabia and was to be delivered at

The IGI airport had been put under high alert after the May 22 twin
blasts in the capital.

Intelligence sources said there was a specific input about the
consignment of Thuraya satellite phones and surveillance was maintained.
Security agencies at the IGI were alerted. After the consignment was
off-loaded at the IGI airport, the presence of 40 satellite phones, dozens
of high frequency wireless sets, detonators and powder like substance were
confirmed during packet mapping. The powder-like substance appears to be a
lethal plastic based explosive, the sources added.

The concerned agencies were waiting for its receiver and an intense
investigation was launched to ascertain the identity of those who were the

Mohammad Amin Khan, a resident of Srinagar, approached the Customs
officials on Wednesady to claim the consignment. He was immediately taken in
custody for questioning, the sources said.

Pakistan-sponsored terrorist outfits operating in the Kashmir valley
have been using satellite phones to avoid detection, since many of their
wireless and telephonic conversations were intercepted by the security
agencies. Intercepting satellite phone is almost impossible as it could be
used from any location in the world. Most importantly, the signals emanating
from satellites keep changing, thus making it difficult from being
intercepted, the sources maintained.

It may be recalled that the Special Cell of Delhi Police had recovered
a Thuraya satellite phone after it killed two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)
terrorists near Pragati Maidan last month. The investigation had revealed
that the phone was activated somewhere in Middle East and then it was taken
to Pakistan and then further passed over to LeT operatives in the Valley.
The investigations by the counter intelligence agencies were intensified
after this, they said.