Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley said on Wednesday that the US had once financed his trip to Pakistan and also claimed that he had "donated" about Rs.70 lakh to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) till 2006, two years before the Mumbai attacks.
The 55-year-old terrorist, who was cross-examined via a video link from the US, told the court that after his arrest in 1998, "The Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) of the US financed my trip. I was in contact with DEA then, but it is not true that between 1988 and 1998 I was providing information or assisting DEA".
Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US and has turned approver in the 26/11 case, contradicted reports that he had received money from the LeT.
"I never received money from LeT...this is complete nonsense. I gave funds to LeT myself. I had donated more than 60 to 70 lakh Pakistani Rupees to LeT throughout the period I was associated with them. My last donation was in 2006", Headley told the court.
He clarified that the money given was not for any specific operation of LeT, but was a general donation primarily for many things.
"These donations were from my business in New York and from the income that I earned by selling and purchasing some properties in Pakistan. I don't remember if I informed US authorities about my donations to LeT," he said.
Picking holes in the credibility of Headley's evidence, 26/11 attack plotter Abu Jundal's lawyer on Wednesday argued that the terrorist, who faced conviction twice in the past before the Mumbai strikes, had indulged in criminal activities and violated his plea bargain agreements with the US government.
Headley was convicted in 1988 and 1998 by a court in the US for alleged drug smuggling, Jundal's lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan said. However, on both the occasions, Headley had entered into a plea bargain with the American government and got off with a lighter sentence.
"One of the conditions of my plea agreement was that I should not take part in any criminal activity. I violated this condition by going to Pakistan and joining the LeT," Headley told special judge G A Sanap, who is hearing the 26/11 terror case against Jundal in a sessions court here.
Headley told the court that after completing his four year sentence in 1988, he was involved in drug smuggling from 1992 to 1998 and had visited Pakistan during this period.
Headley was examined by the prosecution in February this year for five days and the court later adjourned the case
for his cross-examination, which started from Wednesday.
Testifying from an undisclosed location in the US, Headley told the court that it was not possible that his donations were used for the 26/11 terror attacks.
"My last donation was made in 2006 and at that time 26/11 plan was not in place," he said.
When Khan kept implying in his questions that he had received money from LeT, an irked Headley said, "I have repeated it several times. I did not receive any money from LeT...if you don't understand this language I can say it in Urdu."
Seeing Khan smile, Headley said, "Your client's life is relying on this case. You should be serious about that...don't joke."
Headley also told the court that Tahawwur Rana, his associate and a Pakistani native who operated an immigration business in Chicago, was aware that he was an operative of terror outfit LeT.
On being asked by Khan about Rana, Headley said, "Rana knew about my association with LeT. I informed him about the training imparted by me to LeT operatives. I disclosed to Rana that I was spying for LeT. This was four to five months before the 26/11 attacks."
He said Rana had objected to his association with LeT, and added that Rana was not in "constant touch" with any LeT operatives.
"Rana objected to my association with LeT. He did not want me to continue using his office in Mumbai. I conceded his objection and started taking steps to close down the office. This was in July 2008," he said.
Headley also told the court that Rana had once come to Mumbai just prior to the 26/11 attacks, and that the latter continued his association with him till his arrest.
"I was working on Denmark conspiracy project (Mickey Mouse project) on my own and not with Rana. Rana offered me assistance on some occasions. He was a 'small part' of it," he said.
Queried about his wife Shazia, a visibly exasperated Headley told the defense counsel that he is not going to
answer questions about her.
Headley also refused to reveal the location of his wife, whether she is in USA or Pakistan, or her father's name.
"Shazia is still my legally wedded wife. I do not want to disclose Shazia's location at present. I do not want to
answer any question about my wife Shazia," he said.
He, however, said his wife never visited India and that he had disclosed to her about his association with LeT.
"Shazia never visited India. Originally she's from Pakistan. I had told Shazia about my association with LeT. I
don't remember when I disclosed this to her, at least not immediately," he said.
When Khan asked Headley what was Shazia's reaction to this disclosure, he said, "Her reaction to this is between me and her. It is our personal relation. I don't want to disclose whether she objected or not or what she said. I am not going to share what happened between me and my wife."
When Khan continued questioning him on Shazia, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam took objection to it and said that under Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, the communication between a husband and wife is a privileged one and need not be disclosed.
However, the judge said that he will decide tomorrow on whether Khan's question to Headley about his wife falls under this purview.
Headley also told the court that in the 1998 drug case trial in the US, he had testified against two co-accused, out of whom one was acquitted and the other was convicted as he pleaded guilty.
He said that he was sentenced to 15 months in jail and after that he was kept on five years' supervised release.
"There was a motion moved by the state government attorney to terminate my supervisory release because of my 'good conduct'," Headley said.
He also said that in the 1988 case while he was sentenced to four years imprisonment, his co-accused wereawarded a heavier sentence than him.
The Pakistani-American terrorist had earlier concluded his week-long deposition before the Mumbai sessions court through a video-link from the US on February 13.
Headley said in his earlier deposition how Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI provides "financial, military and
moral support" to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, and how LeT planned and executed the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
He had also claimed that Ishrat Jahan, killed in an allegedly fake encounter in Gujarat, was an LeT operative.