Sena Bhavan, NDC were on LeT’s radar: What Headley revealed on day 5

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 12, 2016 19:13 IST
Smoke is seen billowing out of the ground and first floor of the Taj Hotel in South Mumbai during "Operation Cyclone" following the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. (PTI File Photo)

Day five of David Coleman Headley’s deposition before a Mumbai court on Friday revealed more details of the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s plans to attack Shiv Sena Bhavan in Mumbai and National Defence College in the Capital.

Here are highlights of all that Headley revealed before the court via video link from an unknown US location:

1:30 pm David Coleman Headley told the court that the National Defence College in Delhi was on the radar of both Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al-Qaeda. Headley said that he had casually visited the college in 2007 when he had come to India because Sajid Mir had asked him to have a look at the college. He said after 26/11 terrorist attacks he had conducted the reconnaissance of the National Defence College (NDC) again, and of Chabad houses in Pushkar, Pune and Goa on the instructions of slain 313 brigade leader Illyas Kashmiri who later joined Al-Qaeda.

1145 am Bal Thackeray, Sena Bhavan on LeT target list: Headley

Late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and the party’s headquarters at Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar was on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT’s) targets, said David Coleman Headley while deposing before a sessions court in Mumbai.

Headley said that he had conducted a reconnaissance of Shiv Sena Bhavan, and had also befriended Rajaram Rege – a close confidante of Uddhav Thackeray. Rege had then emailed Headley asking for people from United States who wanted to invest in various projects in India.

Headley had informed this to his handler Sajid Mir, who had then asked Headley to make further inroads into Shiv Sena Bhavan. Sajid had told him that LeT would either want to assassinate Balasaheb Thackeray or conduct a terror attack on Sena Bhavan.

10 am Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) wanted to attack Mumbai International Airport and Indian Navy’s helicopter base –INS Shikra in Mumbai, said David Coleman Headley while deposing before the sessions court of judge GA Sanap on Friday.

Headley told the court that Major Iqbal wanted him to conduct a reconnaissance of Mumbai Airport and the Navy base. But Headley said that he did not conduct the reconnaissance of either places after he found the two vital installations heavily guarded.

When Headley returned to Pakistan, Major Iqbal was visibly upset when Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members dropped the plans of attacking airport and the navy base, saying that they would have to use all the 10 LeT attackers at one spot if they had to carry out an attack on the Mumbai airport or the navy base.

Headley told the court that even Siddhivinayak Temple was dropped from the attack plan after Headley found it heavily fortified.

Headley then told court that the saffron bands Mohamed Ajmal Kasab and other attackers were wearing were given by him. Headley had bought the bands from outside Siddhivinayak Temple after he learnt that those following the Hindu faith wore such bands. Headley said that the bands would have masked the attackers identity.

Headley said that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the chief operational commander of LeT, wanted the attackers to land at Gateway of India because of his proximity with Hotel Taj Palace and Towers. But Headley had then Lakhvi that to reach Gateway of India the 10 attackers would have to cross naval installations and the possibility of them being apprehended would be more. It was on Headley’s behest that Badhwar Park was finally chosen as the landing point.

9: 30 am Lakhvi said 26/11 is answer to all blasts done by India: Headley

David Coleman Headley’s deposition over the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack entered its fifth day on Friday where he revealed that Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack has said the Mumbai attacks would be Pakistan’s revenge.

Headley also said that Major Iqbal had directed him to recruit people from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for ISI.

Headley even admitted that he visited and made a video of BARC, and then handed it to Major Iqbal & Sajid Mir.

The deposition which is happening via video conferencing began on Friday as special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam arrived at Mumbai court.

On the fourth day of the deposition, Headley made sensational revelations, in which he took the name of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged ‘fake encounter’ and said that he was informed by Muzammil Bhatt about a botched operation in Gujarat because of a female suicide bomber.

“David Headley has made many sensational revelations. The first revelation was made when we asked him how many wings does Lashkar have. He replied that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi is the operation commander. Hafiz Saeed is the founder. He also named finance wing, women wing and a naval wing. We further asked him who the head of the women wing was, to which he said that Abu Hunja’s mother was the head of the wing,” said special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, Ujjwal Nikam.

During the last three days of deposition, Headley revealed several names in Pakistani Army and the ISI who are working closely with terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamat-ul-Dawa (JuD) to carry out attacks in India.

He informed about the ISI giving moral, financial and military support to the LeT and gave a detailed plan of modus operandi behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

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