DEA sponspored my '97 trip to Pakistan: Headley on friend Tahawwur Rana, wife Shazia and a lot more

Mumbai:  Headley's cross-examination by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, an alleged key plotter of the 2008 terror attack, began on Wednesday morning in the court of Mumbai sessions judge G A Sanap, via video link from the US. Here are a few extracts from the hearing.

On Tahawwur Rana

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Wednesday said 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 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

When Khan asked him 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."

The 55-year-old terrorist, who has turned approver in the 26/11 case, further said Rana had objected to his association with LeT.

"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.

On wife Shazia

Headley refused to answer questions about his wife Shazia.

"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 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."

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."

However, Headley said his wife knew about his plans to change his name.

 DEA sponspored my 97 trip to Pakistan: Headley on friend Tahawwur Rana, wife Shazia and a lot more

A file photo of David Headley. Ibnlive

"She knew that I was going to change my name from Dawood Gilani to David Coleman Headley," he said.

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.

Headley had earlier concluded his week-long deposition before the Mumbai sessions court through a video-link from the US on 13 February.

Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US, 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.

On drug enforcement authority sponsoring his Pak trip and on receiving funding from LeT

Headley also said 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 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 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.

On his criminal activities

Picking holes in the credibility of Headley's evidence, 26/11 attack plotter Abu Jundal's lawyer today 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.

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."


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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2016 19:43:25 IST