Deposing before a court via video conferencing, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley revealed some shocking details about the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, including the role of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Headley’s submissions can prove to be a shot in the arm for Indian agencies that have been pressuring Pakistan to bring terror perpetrators to the books.
Below are 10 important revelations Headley made:
1. Ishrat Jahan, the Mumbra woman killed in a 2004 police shootout, was a Lashkar-e-Taiba suicide bomber. The incident had got BJP president Amit Shah, who was then a Gujarat minister, into trouble as the encounter killing drew a lot of criticism and an investigation was ordered.
2. Headley said the LeT had planned to attack Indian defence scientists at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
3. Headley identified Hafiz Saeed as the head of LeT in Pakistan.
4. He opened an office in Mumbai's Tardeo AC market area on September 14, 2006. "It was my idea to open an office in India. It was a part of my cover (as an immigration consultant). I had discussed about this with Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir and they both agreed to it," he said.
5. Headley said he joined Let in 2002 at the outfit’s headquarters in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan and underwent preliminary and advanced weapons and explosives training.
6. He changed his name from Dawood Gilani to David Headley in 2005.
7. There is a female wing of the LeT and one Abu Aiman’s mother headed it.
8. Headley revealed that he received USD 25,000 from ISI’s Major Iqbal. The major had given him counterfeit Indian currency once or twice in 2008. He said ISI and LeT have funded terror operations in India in a big way. He said that the ISI provides financial, military and moral support to terror outfits such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, LeT and Hizbul Mujaideen. Headley took the names of three officials of the Pakistan army and the ISI -- Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samir Ali – apart from that of retired army officer Abdul Rehman Pasha who had close ties with the LeT and the Al-Qaeda. Headley said his assessment was that ISI and LeT were coordinating with each other.
9. In a meeting held in 2006 where LeT members Sajid Mir, Abu Khaffa and Muzzabil Butt were present, it was decided to set up office in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
10. He received funds from Major Iqbal of ISI and also his main contact in LeT, Sajid Mir. His LeT associate Tahawwur Rana, currently serving a 14-year term in a US prison, also had visited Mumbai before 26/11. Rana left India before the attack after Headley advised him to do so.