Mumbai: Mumbai attack accused David Coleman Headley on Monday narrated the sequence of events before a court via video link how Lashkar-e-Toiba planned and executed the deadly 26/11 attacks and the role of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.
The former spy Headley currently serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, detailed the sequence of events leading up to assault as he deposed before Special Judge GA Sanap for nearly five-and-a-half-hours.
He spoke about his training by the LeT in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) and Abbottabad near Islamabad under the guidance of LeT founder “Hafiz Saeed sahab”, whose picture he identified in the court, as also its commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and how he got in touch with three officers of Pakistan’s ISI — Major Ali and Major Iqbal and Major Abdul Rehman Pasha.
Headley told the court that he had changed his name from the original Dawood Gilani after instructions from the LeT commanders, including Lakhvi, and ISI officials to carry out recce in India for an attack, an “adventurous” task for him.
Headley said though he wanted go to Kashmir and fight Indian troops but he was told that he was “too old” for that.
“Lakhvi told me that they would use me for some other purpose,” he said, adding it was to be more “adventurous” than Kashmir.
Talking about his travel to India, the LeT operative said, “Before the first visit, (his LeT handler) Sajid Mir (also an accused in the case) gave me instructions to make a general video of Mumbai.”
During his examination by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he had “joined a leadership course where both Sayeed and Lakhvi used to come and give speeches against India. He completed his education from Hasan Abdal Cadet College in Pakistan but left for America at the age of 17.”
Headley’s lawyer’s Mahesh Jethmalini said he has confessed that he had joined LeT after being influenced by Hafiz Saeed.
He also told the court that Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a former Pakistan military physician convicted for providing support to LeT for plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper, had helped him get a five-year visa to India.
“Rana knows something about the 26/11 attacks. I told him not to come to India,” Headley told the court. “Rana knew the purpose of my visit to India.”
The deposition of Headley, assumes significance as it may unravel the conspiracy behind the brazen terror strike, which left 166 dead and 309 injured. The court had on December 10, 2015, made Headley an approver in the case and directed him to depose before the court on today.
He had then told Special Judge GA Sanap that he was “ready to depose” if granted pardon. .
The court is currently trying key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal for his alleged role in the attacks.
Earlier in the day, before Headley’s deposition, Jundal told the court that he was withdrawing his lawyer and sought 15 days’ time for appointing a new one.
He also told the court that his name is Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari and not Abu Jundal and sought deletion of his alias from the court records.
Nikam strongly objected to Jundal’s submission and said that it amounted to “delaying tactics”.
Jundal was too produced before the court via video link from the high security Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.