The “Rahul” mentioned several times in e-mails exchanged between suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) operative David Headley and his Pakistan-based handlers could be Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s son Rahul.
Headley, 49, arrested on October 3 by US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from O’ Hare airport in Chicago en route Pakistan, had established contact with Rahul during his Mumbai visit seven months before the 26/11 terror strikes.
But the police have ruled out Rahul’s involvement with Headley’s terror plans.
According to the Mumbai Police, which recorded Rahul’s statement 10 days ago, Headley met him at his gym in Breach Candy, near the American consulate in south Mumbai.
Headley had been staying at a flat near the consulate and used to frequent Rahul’s gym. Rahul is a fitness instructor.
In a statement, Mahesh said the family had told the police all they knew about the matter.
Sources said it was Bhatt Senior who first approached Mumbai Crime Branch chief Rakesh Maria and told him about Headley’s visits.
According to a complaint filed by the FBI in a Chicago court on October 11, Headley was told by his Pakistan-based handler in an e-mail in July this year to say “Hi to Rahul” and that he “had some investment plans for him (Headley)”.
In another mail, the handler told Headley: “To say Hi to Rahul is a good idea because (I) have some work for you over there too. Matters are good enough to move forward.”
After his arrest, Headley reportedly told the FBI that Rahul was the “first name of a prominent Indian actor.”