The National Investigation Agency has formed several teams here as well as in other states and started questioning several people to trace the footsteps of David Headley, an American citizen arrested by FBI on terror charges, and his accomplice Tahawwar Hussain Rana, in India as new leads suggested that they had visited Kerala.
NIA officials were looking for an estate agent in Khar, a western suburb of the city, and Tardeo of Central Mumbai, who could have helped Headley in finding a house in Breach Candy in South Mumbai, official sources said.
The officials, who arrived here yesterday, will examine and procure as well as retrieve CCTV footages, in case they
were deleted, from various hotels of the metropolis where the duo had visited. Both Headley and Rana were arrested by FBI last month on charges of plotting terror strikes inside and outside US.
The NIA sleuths are also understood to have questioned Rahul Bhatt and three other people including the gym
proprietor where Headley is believed to have met Rahul, the sources said, adding that some of the computers and laptops, purportedly used by Headley, have been seized and sent for examination.
In a related development, sleuths of central security agencies have found that Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistan
origin, went to Kochi in Kerala.
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, while making it clear that no one has been given clean chit in the Headley case so far,
said in New Delhi that Rana had visited Kochi last year 10 days before the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Kerala Police Chief Jacob Punnoose said, "A man named Tahawwur Hussain Rana had stayed in a hotel in Kochi on
November 16 (last year)."
The hotel records in Kerala showed that Rana checked in at a five-star hotel in Kochi on November 16 and left for
Mumbai the next day. Sleuths were investigating whether the purpose of Rana's visit was for recruiting youth for militant
activities, the sources said.
In New Delhi, the Union Home Secretary said the sleuths, who have conducted raids in city hotels, required four-six
weeks to complete the investigations into the case.
"Investigations are on, it will take us at least, I will put it as something between four to six weeks, to complete the
probe. Once that probe is completed, we will know the links," he said.
He said security agencies probing the Headley terror case have not given a clean chit to anyone, including
filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul, who had an acquaintance with Headley, the US national, arrested on charges of plotting attacks in India at the behest of Pakistan-based terror group Lashker-e-Taiba.
"We have not given clean chit to anyone. Investigation is still on," Pillai said.
A case was registered against Rana and Headley by NIA on November 11 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for conspiring to wage war against the country.