On the second day of his deposition before a Mumbai court, David Coleman Headley continued to implicate the Pakistani establishment.
Headley said that he met Major Iqbal, one of the alleged handlers of the attack, for the first time at a house in Lahore. “In this meeting, a colonel from the Pakistan Army was also present,” he said during examination by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
Further, he said that in 2003, he met retired major Abdul Rehman Pasha, also accused of being a handler, at a mosque in Lahore.
While several statements implicating the Pakistan army have been reported to have been made in the past, Headley’s statements assume significance as they have been made before a court of law rather than to a police officer, and are admissible as evidence.
Headley also said that during his surveillance in Mumbai, he was specifically asked to conduct a reconnaissance of the Siddhivinayak temple, which sees crowds of thousands of people every day. Subsequently, he said that after the surveillance, he handed over the GPS device back to alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Sajid Mir.
During his deposition, Headley, who has been sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment in the US, said that he stayed as a paying guest at Shyam Niwas near the Breach Candy hospital in South Mumbai in 2006.
Speaking about the planning for the 26 November, 2008 attacks in Mumbai, he said that the plan to attack a conference hall at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba was for ‘logistical reasons.’ When asked to explain what ‘logistical reasons’ meant, Headley said that it referred to getting ‘personnel and weapons.’
David Headley is deposing before a Mumbai court after being granted a pardon and being made an accused-turned-approver in the 26 November, 2008 terror attacks case.
In his first deposition on Monday, Headley told the court that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strikes that killed 166 people but failed both times.
Describing himself as a “true follower of LeT”, Headley 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 PTI
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