I told NIA about Ishrat Jahan but they didn't record my exact statement: Headley tells court

On the fourth day of his cross-examination in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case before the court, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley claimed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had not recorded his statements accurately and that he had no personal knowledge of Ishrat Jahan.

Headley on Saturday claimed that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about Ishrat Jahan 'operation' though he had also learnt about the case through the media. He said that he had told NIA that "a female member who had died in an encounter in India was Ishrat Jahan" and other things but could not say why they were not recorded by the agency.

However, he went back on a part of his statement to the NIA, saying that he did not tell the probe agency about Lakhvi informing him that "Ishrat Jahan module" was a "botched-up operation" and added that "these were my thoughts".

He also admitted that he had "no personal knowledge about Ishrat Jahan."

"When Lakhvi introduced Muzammil Bhat to me, he told me that he (Bhat) is one of the top LeT commanders and has done some operations like Akshardham temple, Ishrat Jahan etc... the rest were my thoughts... I came to know about Ishrat Jahan from media. These are my thoughts as to why Ishrat Jahan operation resulted in failure," Headley said

"No, I did not say this to NIA and cannot assign any reason why it has been so recorded," he told Judge G A Sanap

The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the 26/11 case, is being cross-examined by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Jundal who is an alleged key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai siege, via a video-link from the US.

NIA had recorded Headley's statement in the US in July, 2010.

On whether NIA read out the statement to him, Headley said, "No" and added that the agency just took down the notes.

To a question, the Lashkar operative, who has been convicted in the US for his role in the 26/11 attacks, said neither he had requested the NIA for a copy of the statement nor did they provide it to him.

He also said that this is for the first time that he was being shown his statement in the court. Headley said he told NIA that before Sajid Mir, Muzammil was the head of the group (LeT).

Headley was then confronted with his own statement asking him why information about Bhat has not been recorded. To this, Headley said he cannot explain this. He also told Khan that he had told NIA about an "unsuccesful operation near police naka in India" but could not explain as to why it has not been recorded in his statement.

Headley also said that he told NIA that there was a woman wing in LeT and the mother of one Abu Aiman was heading it. He further said he had told NIA that "a female member who had died in an encounter in India was Ishrat Jahan" but could not say why this too was not recorded by the agency.

To a question, Headley further clarified that he had informed NIA that "this woman (Jahan) was an Indian and a LeT
operative" but could not explain why this was not recorded in his statement.

Relplying to another question, he said, "It would be correct to say that I have no personal knowledge about Ishrat

I told NIA about Ishrat Jahan but they didnt record my exact statement: Headley tells court

A file photo of David Headley. IBN Live

Ishrat Jahan was killed along with three others in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004

While testifying in February, Headley had said that Jahan, a 19-year-old student from Mumbai, was affiliated to
the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Headley also said that he had told the agency that Muzammil's operations were all over in India and concentrated in Gujarat and Maharashtra but can't tell why this was not recorded in his statement.

"It is true that Lakhvi had introduced Muzammil to me in 2005," Headley said replying to a question.

However, he denied that Lakhvi had told him that Muzammil was a top LeT commander whose every project fails.

"Lakhvi did not tell me this and I also did not tell NIA about this," he said but failed to explain why this was
reflected in his statement.

Hafiz told me Thackeray needed to be taught a lesson: Headley

On Friday, Headley also disclosed that the LeT chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed had told him prior to the Mumbai terror attacks that Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray "needed to be taught a lesson".

After hearing this (that Thackeray needed to be taught a lesson), Headley had told Saeed that this would be done, he said.

To a question, he said he had not requested for any time "to accomplish this task", but said "it would take six

On Friday, Headley had revealed that he had "arranged" a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena in the US and had planned to invite Thackeray to the event.

The 55-year-old LeT operative, who has turned approver in the case, said that Sena man Rajaram Rege had told him that "Thackeray was sick and so may be his son and other officials may attend the programme."

Earlier this week, Headley had told the court that terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) wanted to eliminate Thackeray but the person who was assigned the job to kill the Sena chief was arrested and he managed to give police the slip.

"We wanted to target the chief of Shiv Sena... His name was Bal Thackeray. LeT wanted to kill him wherever a chance
arose. I knew that Bal Thackeray was the head of Shiv Sena. I have no firsthand knowledge but I think an attempt was made by LeT to kill Bal Thackeray," he had said.

"I don't know how this attempt was made. I think the person (who was sent to kill Thackeray) was arrested but he
managed to escape from police custody. I don't have firsthand knowledge about this though," Headley had told Judge GA Sanap, who is hearing the 26/11 terror case against Abu Jundal in the sessions court in Mumbai.


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Updated Date: Mar 26, 2016 18:56:58 IST

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