US national David Coleman Headley (49), the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) operative currently in custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team that after the 26/11 attacks, LeT’s next target was an oil refinery in Gujarat.
Quoting Headley, a NIA report states that the oil refinery was “probably” that of the Reliance Industries Limited.
Reliance Industries Limited has two oil refineries on the outskirts of Jamnagar, a town in west Gujarat.
Headley, during questioning at Chicago, told the NIA the plan to carry out the attack in Gujarat was being finalised even as LeT’s chief, Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in Pakistan in connection with the 26/11 attacks.
According to NIA’s report, Headley said that a senior LeT operative had informed him that they had got clearance to attack India again. “I believe that Sajid’s reference to ‘near Rahul’s city meant a city in Gujarat,” Headley told the NIA team. Later in February 2009, the operative had showed Headley a Google map of an oil refinery in Gujarat.
Headely also told the NIA team that the LeT wanted him to visit Gujarat again and survey the place before the attack.
In November 2009, HT had reported that Headley’s associate Tahawwur Rana (48) had visited Ahmedabad three months after 21 synchronised bomb explosions rocked the city on July 26, 2008.
Rana, who is also in FBI’s custody for planning terror attacks in India and Denmark, had traveled to Ahmedabad from Mumbai by a Go Air flight on November 18, 2008. Investigations revealed that a woman, Samraz Rana Akhtar had accompanied Rana during his three-day visit to Ahmedabad. They had stayed at Hotel Lemon Tree in Navrangpura area of the city and the room was booked in Samraz’s name. The hotel was situated right behind Gujarat police chief SS Khandvawala’s bungalow.