Pakistani-American LeT operative David Headley on Monday for the first time deposed before a Mumbai court through video conference after being made an approver in the 26/11 attacks case which may further unravel the conspiracy behind the brazen terror strike.
The court is currently trying key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Headley’s evidence is important to unfold many facts behind the 26/11 attack. He, however, refused to divulge any further information.
What is Headley expected to say:
Meanwhile, a Mumbai police official said that Headley can give broader aspect of criminal conspiracy and who all were involved in the attacks which had left 166 dead and 309 others injured.
“He may also bare therole of Pakistan in case,” the official said.
Headley’s testimony expected to detail the role of terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who roams free in Pakistan, and terrorist Abu Jundal who is facing trial in India and was identified by the lone 26/11 terrorist captured alive, Ajmal Kasab, as his handler.
Highlighting the importance of the evidences that are expected to be brought to fore by Headley, Nikam said, “ The evidence of David Headley is important for two reasons. One of the Indian terrorists Abu Jindal who was in Pakistan and against whom the trial is pending. So, David Headley may give the broader aspect of the criminal conspiracy. The second aspect of the evidence of David Headley would be that why the conspiracy was hatched, who were the persons behind the criminal conspiracy and how it progressed with ultimately a huge death toll of 160 persons. We expect that David Headley would give his revelation. Because on oath he is going to give the revelation as he has made a commitment before the American court.”
Four years ago Headley made many startling revelations when he was interrogated in the US by a team of sleuths from India’s National Investigation Agency. At the time, he had revealed that the Mumbai attacks were possible only because of the “complete support of the ISI”. Headley had also told the NIA that he believed “local Indian boys” were part of the LeT’s “Karachi set-up” which was created to launch operations into India by using “militants of Indian origin”. ( Read all the details here)
The court had on December 10, 2015, made Headly an approver and directed him to depose before the court on February 8.
Headley, who is currently serving 35 years prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks, had told Special Judge GA Sanap that he was “ready to depose” if granted pardon.
Judge Sanap had made Headley an approver, subject to certain conditions and granted him pardon.
Presently, the court is trying the case against key LeT operative Abu Jundal.
Headley’s maps and videos helped ten Pakistani fidayeens land by sea on Mumbai’s shores and launch one of the audacious attacks on the financial capital, killing over 166 people and injuring 300.
Between November 26 and 29, 2008, terrorists rampaged through two five-star hotels Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace, Jewish outreach centre at Nariman House, Cafe Leopold, all in Colaba, besides Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama and Albless Hospital.
While nine terrorists were killed during the response operations, a lone gunman Ajmal Kasab was tried and hanged on November 21, 2012 at Pune’s Yerawada jail.
The FBI arrested Headley in October 2009 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago while on his way to Pakistan. US District Judge Harry Leinenweber of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago sentenced him to 35 years in prison for his role in Mumbai attacks on January 24, 2013.