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On Day 2, Headley reveals 'Taj attack in 2007 was cancelled due to logistics'

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 Armymen To Spy For Them.

PTI | Updated on: 09 Feb 2016, 02:59:53 PM


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 armymen to spy for them.

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.”

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. 

Here are the highlights of what Headley said on Day 2:

  • Lashkar Planned To Attack Scientists At Taj Hotel
  • Lashkar, Jaish and Hizbul working under UJC against India
  • Was asked to recruit Indian Armymen to spy for ISI
  • David Headley also admitted that in 2003, there was a gathering of LeT where Maulana Masood Azhar was the guest speaker
  • Headley's wife Faiza, in Jan '08, complained to US Embassy in Islamabad that he was involved in terrorist activities
  • Conspiracy to conduct terror attacks in Mumbai started in Nov '06
  • Headley says he met Zakhi-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for the first time in 2003 in Muzzafarabad, which was the headquarters of LeT
  • Former ISI chief Abdul Rehman alias Major Pasha was part of LeT. He later joined Al-Qaeda

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First Published : 09 Feb 2016, 07:57:00 AM