Mumbai: Testifying before a Mumbai court for the second day today, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said LeT had planned to attack Indian defence scientists at the Taj Mahal Hotel here and that he was asked by Pakistan’s ISI to recruit Indian army-men to spy for them.
David Headley also admitted that his wife Faiza lodged a complaint in US assembly (Islamabad) that he is involved in terorist activities and was having close association with LeT.
He also said that the LeT group as a whole was responsible for the terror attacks in India, and it can be speculated that all orders came from its top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Continuing to spill the beans, Headley said, “I met Major Iqbal of ISI in Lahore in early 2006. He asked me to gather military intelligence from India and also try to recruit someone from the Indian military to spy. I told Major Iqbal that I would do as he asked.”
“I cannot tell this court who specifically from LeT instructed to conduct terror acts in India. The group as a whole was responsible. We can, however, speculate that since Zaki-ur-Rehman was the head of operations of LeT, and hence all orders would have logically come from him,” he told the court. He also revealed that, “In November, December 2007, the LeT held a meeting in Muzaffarabad which was attended by (Headley’s handler in the outfit) Sajid Mir and one Abu Kahsa. In this meeting it was decided that terror attacks would be conducted in Mumbai.”
“The task of conducting recce of Taj Hotel in Mumbai was assigned to me. They (Sajid and Kahsa) had some information that there was going to be a meeting of Indian defence scientists at the conference hall in Taj Hotel. They wanted to plan an attack at that time,” Headley revealed. “They also made a mock (dummy) of the Taj Hotel. However, the meeting of the scientists was cancelled,” he said, adding that prior to November 2007, the place was not decided where terror attacks would be conducted in India.
The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the case, further said that he had “discussed with LeT leaders Hafiz Sahab and Zaki-ur-Rehman ‘sahab’ that it would be a good idea to take the US govt to court to challenge its decision to designate LeT as a foreign terrorist organisation and banning it.”
“Hafiz said it was a good idea but then did not say anything more on it. Zaki thought it will be a long process and many agencies of the Pakistani government like the ISI will have to be involved,” said Headley, while appearing from an undisclosed location via video conferencing.
Headley says he had also conducted recce of Maharashtra State Police Headquarters and the Naval air station in south Mumbai.
Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, also revealed that his wife had complained to police about his links with LeT. “In December 2007, my wife Faiza lodged a complaint with the Racecourse police in Lahore alleging that I had duped her of money.
“In January 2008, she complained to the US Embassy in Islamabad that I was involved in terrorist activities and was closely associated with LeT,” he said. “Later when I asked her about this complaint, she told me that the “US Embassy officials seemed to have believed her” In his first deposition yesterday, Headley had told the court that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai that killed 166 people but failed both times.
Describing himself as a “true follower of LeT”, Headley had also admitted during his examination by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that he joined the ranks of LeT after getting “influenced and motivated” by the speeches of terrorist outfit’s founder Hafiz Saeed.
With inputs from agencies