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26/11 Mumbai Taj Terror Attack

Final Report by Chief Investigating Officer in court of Addl CH.M.M, 37th court, Esplanade, Mumbai


On 26 Nov 2008, eight coordinated shooting and bombing attacks were carried out in South Mumbai and few in suburbs, by Pakistani terrorists. Eight attacks occurred in South Mumbai killing 166 civilians including citizens from U.K., U.S.A, Israel etc and wounding 304 others.


The 10 accused terrorists were in early twenty’s and underwent a rigorous and disciplined training schedule phase by phase. The Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were trained inside Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir in physical fitness, swimming, weapon handling, battle inoculation, Guerilla warfare, firing sophisticated weapons, use of Hand Grenades and Rocket Launchers, Handling of GPS and Satellite Phone, Map Reading, in particular the study of the targeted sites of Mumbai City.

Planning of the attack

The ten terrorists were all Pakistanis in their early 20s. The terrorists spoke Urdu, Hindi, and some English.

The 10 terrorists operated as 5 buddy pairs. Each was equipped with fire arms, ammunition, explosives, etc.They had maps of important locations in Mumbai. They had also received help from Mumbai residents. Later, the police arrested two Indian suspects, from Srinagar and Kolkata who were local helps.

The attackers used three SIM cards purchased in India & one in New Jersey, USA. Chinese made Grenades were used. Blood tests & Syringes were found on the scenes on the terrorists indicated that they had taken cocaine, LSD & steroids during the attacks, for vigor, to retain energy and to keep awake for 50 hours. of the attacks. They had used Google Earth to familiarize themselves with the locations of targets. Some had come to Mumbai disguised as students on a reconnaissance mission & for stocking the ammo, staying for two months before the attack.

The Attack

It started on the afternoon of 23rd November, 2008. The arrested and accused were

1. Ajmal Kasab 2. Ismail Khan 3. Imran Babar 4. Nasir Alias Abu Umar 5. Nazir Ahmad 6. Hafiz Arshad 7. Abdul Rehman Chota 8. Fahad Ulla 9. Javed 10. Shoaib

The terrorists travelling in the Pakistani/LeT boat ‘Al Husaini’, captured the Indian fishing trawler , Kuber, retaining the owner Solanki as navigator and sent the other 4 sailors on the Pakistani/ LeT boat “Al Husaini”. They loaded their consignment of AK-47 assault rifles, 7.62 mm pistols, hand grenades, RDX-laden IEDs, rubberized dinghy with out board engine, etc. and other material, onto the Indian trawler, Kuber and transferred fuel into the Kuber for the journey.

They were in constant contact with their co-conspirators in Pakistan through satellite phone and used their G.P.S device to reach Mumbai coast. The trawler reached a little away from the coast of Mumbai on 26th at16.00 hours. They beheaded the navigator and inflated the rubberized dinghy.They boarded the rubberized dinghy and reached the Mumbai shore at Cuffe Parade at approximately 2030/2100 hrs on 26 Nov. They divided themselves into 5 buddy pairs, and separated out for their tasks/targets in Mumbai .After departure of the others,only two terrorists sailed in the dinghy,landing on the shore across Hotel Oberoi .

Two terrorists walked towards Nariman House in Colaba. The remaining 6 terrorists traversed to their targets elsewhere by hailing taxies.

Attack on C.S.T. Railway Station

Two terrorists Kasab and Ismail Khanl arrived at C.S.T Railway Station in a taxi. Ismail engaged the driver in conversation while Kasab seated on the rear seat, planted an 8kg RDX-laden IED under the driver’s seat. (It exploded an hour later on the Western Express highway at Vile Parle). They alighted at C.S.T. Railway Station. Kasab entered the lavatory on the station, while Ismail planted another IED in the Station premises.They indiscriminately started firing from their AK-47 rifles, lobbed grenades on passengers waiting at the Main Hall killing innocent women, senior citizens, children etc.

They fired at Police officers, constables and Home Guards who attempted to stop them. They fired on the railway platforms at passengers. The terrorists then exited the railway station. Still lobbing grenades and firing, they entered the by-lane adjoining the Times of India Building and approached the Cama Hospital to kill the admitted patients, but the hospital staff locked the doors of all the patient wards. The terrorists killed a Police officer and constable and seriously injured other uniformed personnel. They fired at a passing Government vehicle to hijack it, but quickly took cover behind a tree nearby when they noticed a Police vehicle approaching. The senior ranked Police officers and one of the constables sitting in the vehicle opened fire on the terrorists seeing their suspicious movements. The two terrorists fired back killing the three senior Police officers and three constables seated in the Qualis vehicle and injuring a Police constable who lay prone on the rear seat. The Police officers viz Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar were killed and Ajmal Kasab injured his hands. Throwing out the bodies of the Police officers, they attempted to remove the dead bodies of the constables from the rear seat but the rear door of the Qualis did not budge open.The two terrorists proceeded to drive off in the Police Qualis towards the Metro Cinema square. They kept firing from the vehicle at Metro Junction. One rear tyre of the jeep developed a puncture and the vehicle started wobbling. They then hijacked a Skoda and continued their journey. When the terrorists abandoned the Police Qualis, the injured Police Naik Arun Jadhav, who was lying in the rear of the vehicle, informed the Police Control Room via the wireless in the vehicle. The Police Control Room flashed an alert wireless message to Police vehicles and mobile vans of all Police Stations giving details of the terrorists in the hijacked vehicle. The Police from the Dr. D.B. Marg Police Station reached opposite Café Ideal, Girgaum Chowpatty, and organised roadblocks stopping all traffic.

On reaching this point, the Police ordered them to shut off the headlights of the car. The terrorists switched on the water spray of the wind- screen of the car to prevent the Police from having a clear view of them inside the car. The two terrorists tried turning the car which then crashed into the road dividers. As the Police approached the vehicle, Ismail Khan fired at them from his pistol. Simultaneously, Ajmal Kasab was approached by Asstt. Police Sub-Inspector Tukaram Ombale. Ombale grabbed the AK-47 kept between Ajmal Kasab’s legs but Kasab pressed the trigger of the AK-47 at Ombale killing him on the spot. In the meanwhile, the Police rushed to the vehicle nabbing Kasab. Another police officer, API Sanjay Govilkar was wounded. On the opposite side, the Police fired on and injured Abu Ismail. The two terrorists were moved to the hospital, Ismail declared dead and Kasab admitted for treatment.

Attack on Nariman House

Nariman House was owned by the Chabad of India Trust, an orthodox Jewish organization and renamed Chabad House.

The second terrorist pair viz Babar Imran and Nasir who had landed at Machimar Colony, Cuffe Parade, reached Nariman House, Colaba. Before entering Chabad House, one of the terrorists planted a RDX-laden IED at a short distance away from a petrol pump in Colaba. Another RDX-laden IED was planted near the staircase at ground level. Both these RDX-laden IEDs exploded. The terrorists held some residents hostage and forced one of the Jewish hostages to speak to their Embassy on the phone. The two terrorists kept receiving operational and motivational inputs from their co-conspirators in Pakistan. The terrorists contacted the media misleading them and camouflaging their real intentions for the attacks. The terrorists’ opened fire with their AK-47s inside Nariman House, and on nearby buildings killing 8 innocent residents.

Rescue at Nariman house

NSG commandos arrived from Delhi, took an aerial survey in helicopters. 9 hostages were rescued from the first floor. The next day, NSG commandos stormed in, from helicopters onto the roof, covered by snipers in surrounding buildings. One NSG commando and the two terrorists were killed. Six hostages’ bodies were found, tied, tortured and killed.

Attack on Café Leopold & Hotel Taj Mahal

Leopold Café, frequented by foreigners and Indians is a known tourist spot in Colaba. The third pair of terrorists viz. Abu Shoaib and Abu Umer reached Café Leopold in a taxi. Enroute, one terrorist planted an RDX laden I.E.D below the driver’s seat. They walked towards the Leopold Café and began indiscriminately shooting and lobbing grenades killing 11 persons including two foreigners. Totally 28 persons including 9 foreign nationals were injured. On completion of this mayhem, both these terrorists walked immediately towards the Hotel Taj Mahal located behind on P. Ramchandani Marg, Colaba. Enroute, one of the two terrorists planted an RDX IED on the kerb near a Restaurant and Bar. However Mumbai Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (B.D.D.S.) diffused the bomb on time. (The RDX IED planted by the terrorists in the taxi during their journey to Café Leopold, caused a massive explosion when it reached Mazgaon, killing two lady passengers, the driver and injuring 19 bystanders.

Attack on Hotel Taj Mahal

Hotel Taj Mahal is a heritage building and iconic structure. The fourth pair of terrorist Hafiz Arshad and Javed reached the Hotel Taj Palace and Towers, Colaba in a taxi cab. Before entering the Hotel, they planted a RDX IED near a chowky outside the Taj Hotel.

However, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (B.D.D.S.) was successful in defusing it. The terrorists entered Hotel Taj from the front/main gate entrance, firing indiscriminately on the Indian and foreign Hotel guests who were present. The two terrorists who had attacked the Café Leopold, also entered the Taj Hotel from the other gate and began firing indiscriminately around the swimming pool area. Fear and panic struck through the entire hotel.

Now there were totally four terrorists inside the hotel. They started moving on various floors of the hotel, firing indiscriminately. Six explosions took place inside the hotel. The Wasabi restaurant on the first floor of the hotel was completely devastated.

Soon, the Army columns and Naval Commandos (MARCOS) were also summoned to assist the civilian police to repel the terrorist attack. The four heavily armed terrorists fired indiscriminatelyand threw grenades all over. They exploded a 10kg RDX-IED on the 5th floor below the central dome. They set afire the sixth floor of the hotel. The terrorists continuously communicated receiving operational and motivational inputs from their co-conspirators/ LeT operatives.

Rescue at Taj Hotel

The National Security Guard Commandos waged a bitter and grim battle for over 59 hours to control and subdue the terrorists. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan from N.S.G. and a State Reserve Police Force Jawan Rahul Shinde were killed.

There were explosions and gunfire was exchanged. The ground floor was on fire with smoke arising also from the first floor. The operation at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel ended at 08:00 on 29 November, killing the last three terrorists.

250 people from the Oberoi, 300 from the Taj and 60 people (members of 12 different families) from Nariman House were rescued by the Security forces. The Police seized a boat filled with arms and explosives anchored at Mazgaon dock off Mumbai harbour.

By November 29 morning, when the dust finally settled, a total of 36 guests including nine foreign nationals lost their lives. The death toll also included helpless women and children.

Attack on Hotel Trident and Oberoi Hotel

The fifth pair of terrorists, Fahadullah and Abdul Rehman Chhota landed at the coast opposite Hotel Oberoi and Hotel Trident with the aid of the motorized rubber dinghy, after dropping off their compatriots at Macchimar Colony, Colaba, Mumbai. Before entering the Hotel Trident, one of the terrorists planted a RDX- laden IED on the slope of the flowerbed adjacent to the Trident Main Gate.

The BDDS. placed a “Bomb Blanket” on this I.E.D minimizing the damage.

On entering the Hotel, the terrorists started firing from their AK-47 rifles and lobbed grenades. The terrorists planted another RDX laden I.E.D. near the Tiffin Restaurant and exploded it. They forcibly took hostages from the Kandahar Restaurant and went up to the higher floors. From the top, they held the security forces at bay by firing intermittently and hurling grenades. They also contacted a T.V. Channel and gave wrong information to mislead and covering their true identities.

Rescue at Trident And Oberoi

After a 42 hr bitter fight, the Security forces ultimately killed the two terrorists. 35 persons including 9 foreigners were killed and 24 guests (including 5 foreigners and 4 security personnel) were injured.

Pakistan’s Involvement

After a long denial, on 7 Jan 2009, the Pakistani authorities admitted to the attackers being Pakistani. The Indian government gave evidence to Pakistan and other governments, in the form of interrogations, weapons and call records of conversations during the attacks. Indian government officials alleged that the sophisticated attacks must have official backing from Pakistani “agencies”, an accusation denied by Pakistan. Under U.S. & U.N. pressure, Pakistan arrested a few members of Jamaat ud- Dawa but were freed in a few days. Pakistani authorities did not cooperate in providing information for Police investigation.

The Court trial

Kasab’s trial was delayed, as many Indian lawyers were unwilling to represent him. The Chief Justice of India insisted on a lawyer for a fair trial. On February 25, 2009, Indian investigators filed an 11,000-page Chargesheet, charging him with murder, conspiracy, and waging war against India and other charges. Kasab’s trial began on 6 May 2009 and finally admitted his guilt on 20 July 2009. He initially apologized for the attacks and claimed that he deserved the death penalty for his crimes, but later retracted these claims, saying that he had been tortured by police to force his confession, and that he had been arrested while roaming the beach. The court had accepted his plea, but due to the lack of completeness within his admittance, the judge had deemed that many of the 86 charges were not addressed and therefore the trial will continue.