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From electrician to terrorist: Abu Jundal, LeT's India expert

Syed Zabiuddin Syed Zakiuddin Ansari has gone a long way from being a electrician studying in the Beed district of Maharashtra to acquiring the operational name Abu Jundal and being involved in aiding terror strikes across the country.

Born to an insurance salesman in a family of six, with five sisters, Zabiuddin was first sent to a local Urdu medium school. Zabiuddin followed it up with a diploma at the Indian Technical Institute in Beed district and even reportedly began studying at the Navgan Shikshan Sanstha college even as he attempted to hold on to odd jobs.

Jundal is suspected to have gone to Pakistan around 2005 and stayed there. Screen grab from CNN IBN

It was while searching for employment that Zabiuddin is suspected of meeting members of the banned communal organisation Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and gradually was included in the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Police officials believe that communal tenions in Beed may have been one of the reasons for the Zabiuddin to start following the more radical Islamist school of thought.

Investigators believe that he was chosen to undergo training in the use of weapons to carry out terror strikes in India either in Kashmir or across the border in Pakistan and is said to have come in contact with senior leaders withing the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Investigators believe that after his training he was sent back to India and got involved in sending more youth for weapons training. Another operation he allegedly was involved in was getting arms and ammunition for terror strikes which were seized by the police in Aurangabad in 2006, officials are quoted as saying in a report in the Times of India.

While some initially suspected that Zabiuddin might have been aiding the police in the operation, his subsequent actions proved otherwise.

After the failed operation, he was reportedly sent to Pakistan through Bangladesh where he was reportedly involved in the planning and execution of the attacks in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008 where he allegedly coached the gunmen in Hindi and gave them instructions during the terror strikes.

It was his use of Hindi words that are typically used only in Maharashtra that raised suspicions of Zabiuddin being involved in the terror strikes. His name was included in a list given by Indian authorities to their Pakistani counterparts of fugitives suspected to hiding across the border.

Zabiduddin is also suspected to aiding local terror group Indian Mujahideen, which is accused of carrying out blasts across the country including serial blasts in Gujarat in 2008, Delhi and Mumbai.

Allegedly close to the top leadership of the banned terror group, Zabiuddin is suspected of being sent to Saudi Arabia to continue recruiting more people for the cause and to raise funds to provide legal aid to terror operatives arrested in India, the Times of India reported.

Zabiuddin is likely to be questioned by police forces across the country in connection with the various terror attacks in which he is accused. However, how important he was within the Lashkar-e-Taiba and how much he knows about terror operations in India only time will tell.

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