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Headley nails role of Pak Army officials, ISI agents in 26/11

LeT terrorist-turned-approver tells NIA judge about role played by Pakistan Army officials and ISI agents in the 2008 Mumbai attack

india Updated: Feb 08, 2016 17:07 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
David Headley told an NIA court about the role played by Pakistani Army officials and ISI agents in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
David Headley told an NIA court about the role played by Pakistani Army officials and ISI agents in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.(PTI)

An explosive testimony by US-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Coleman Headley has exposed the role played by some Pakistani military and intelligence officials in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which had left 166 people dead in the country’s business capital.

The 56-year-old US national, who deposed before an NIA judge through video-conferencing on Monday, said that though his sole contact in the LeT was one Sajid Mir, he was also in touch with an agent of the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), whom he identified only as Major Ali.

Read More | ISI named,2 failed attempts before 26/11: Headley’s big revelation

Headley, who turned approver and is now lodged at a US jail, told judge GA Sanap that he came in contact with the ISI officer after he was arrested at Landi Kotal in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area.

Headley said he had been to the border area along with a retired Pakistani military officer, Major Abdul Rehman Pasha, to meet a drug dealer Zaib Shah, with the aim of smuggling weapons and explosives to India. He was arrested for being a foreign national in the area where no outsider is allowed to venture. Headley said he was later released following the intervention of Major Ali, after he showed Pakistani identity cards.

Read More | As it happened: Headley reveals Pakistan hand in 26/11 terror attacks

Headley said Major Ali later introduced him to one Major Iqbal as the former thought that the US national could be used to gather intelligence in India. Headley, according to his deposition before the court, changed his name from Syed Daood Salim Gilani to David Coleman Headley in Philadelphia in order to conceal his identity and also obtained a new passport in the new name, as instructed by Siraj Mir.

He conceded that he gave false information while applying for visa at the Consulate General of India at Chicago and later took help of his friend Dr Tahawwur Husain Rana and his partner Raymond Sanders for obtaining a 5-year business visa with multiple entries, so that he would not be required to apply for visa again and again.

Headley had met Dr Rana, a doctor in the Pakistani Army, at a military school in Punjab province. Dr Rana was his schoolmate for 5 years.

Replying to a question by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Headley said he reported the change of his name and obtaining of a US passport in the new name to both Siraj Mir and Major Iqbal, and both of them approved of it.

He also informed them about the story that he had cooked, that he was visiting India under the guise of an immigration consultant working on behalf of the firm of Dr Rana and Sanders – Immigration Law Center, established in Chicago in 2006.

Responding to another question from Nikam, Headley said he was not aware where Major Ali was serving at the time, but was aware that his headquarter was Khyber Rifle Regiment, a unit of the Pakistani army.

Read More | David Headley’s deposition exposes Pakistan’s sham 26/11 trial