The cross-examination of Pakistani-American terrorist-turned approver David Headley in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks began on Wednesday. He is being cross-examined by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, an alleged key plotter of the terror attack and it will go on for four days.
Headley, who turned an approver, finished his week-long deposition before Mumbai sessions court through a video link from the US on 13 February, following which, Judge GA Sanap had directed special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam for a second round of deposition.
According to the latest report in PTI, Headley refused to answer questions about his wife Shazia, but added that she has never visited India and was aware that he was going to change his name from Daood Gilani to David Coleman Headley.
On Tahawwur Rana, his associate from Chicago, Headley revealed that Rana knew he was an operative of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (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."
In February this year, Headley made a startling revelations regarding Ishrat Jahan which added more questions to the already murky case. He told a special court that Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an encounter, was an LeT operative. The Hindu reported that Headley said that Lashkar ideologue Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi had told him about a botched up operation in India and that a woman with the name of Ishrat Jahan was killed in the shootout. He also informed that the LeT has a women's wing.
The police had claimed that Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra, along with a few other LeT associates were coming to Gujarat to assassinate the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The report added that investigations by Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate, on the other hand, had ruled that the June 2004 killing was case of "fake encounter."
In his earlier deposition, Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US, also revealed that 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.
During his interrogation by India’s National Investigation Agency, Headley had claimed that Hafiz Mohammed Saeed knew everything about the Mumbai attacks and major plans of the LeT are executed only after his approval, as per The Hindustan Times. The report also stated that the LeT had full support from ISI for the attack on Mumbai.
In his earlier deposition before Special Tada Judge GA Sanap, Headley admitted to have surveyed the National Defence College in New Delhi, Chabad Houses in tourist destinations like Goa, Pune and Pushkar on instructions of Al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri. He also spoke about taking videos of the Shiv Sena Bhavan as he believed that the LeT "would be interested in attacking it or even carry assassination of its (then) head (Bal Thackeray)."
Apart from giving videos of Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi and the Naval Air Station to his contacts, Headley had said that the ISI wanted to recruit from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to get access to sensitive information.
With inputs from agencies