(Adds details, fresh comments from coast guard official)
MUMBAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - An Indian-owned fishing trawler may have been used to deliver militants who attacked Mumbai from the sea, coast guard officials said on Friday.
The boat was found abandoned near the Mumbai shore with communications equipment on board and could have been hijacked.
“We also found a dead body in the vessel,” Commandant Kulpreet Yadav told Reuters. “We took the boat under tow and handed it over to the police for investigation.”
Indian investigators say the militants who attacked Mumbai, killing around 120 people, arrived by sea in rubber dinghies, but are trying to trace the ship which ferried them close to the city.
“Whether the trawler was hijacked or not is being investigated, but some of the things found on the trawler are bad news,” another top coast guard official said, declining to be named. “The boat was used to drop off men.”
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pinned the blame for the attacks on militants based in a neighbouring country, usually meaning Pakistan [ID:nLR648031]
Newspapers say three of the militants arrested have confessed to being Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group. The NDTV news channel, citing unnamed sources, said the Indian-owned trawler had been hijacked in Pakistani waters 14 days ago.
The Indian navy has also detained two ships it believes to be Pakistani-owned and was investigating them, while a Panama-owned vessel which recently docked in Karachi had also been seized and was being checked out, officials said.
“The vessel was considered suspicious and it was chased by a frigate and a fast-attack craft,” the navy said in a statement. “A thorough check of all compartments and cargo is in progress.” (Writing by Simon Denyer; Editing by Alistair Scrutton & Mark Williams)
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