David Coleman Headley operated a video store in New York. But his life changed during one of his many visits to Pakistan.(PTI File Photo)
David Coleman Headley operated a video store in New York. But his life changed during one of his many visits to Pakistan.(PTI File Photo)

David Headley: From a video store operator in NY to 26/11 accused

Born to a Pakistani father and an American mother in June 1960, Daood Gilani aka David Coleman Headley, who has been named as an accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror case, spent his early days in Pakistan.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2016 03:41 PM IST

Born to a Pakistani father and an American mother in June 1960, Daood Gilani aka David Coleman Headley, who has been named as an accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror case, spent his early days in Pakistan. He relocated to the US when his parents separated.

Headley operated a video store in New York. But his life changed during one of his many visits to Pakistan.

Visiting the Qadisiya Mosque in Lahore, Headley saw an LeT poster which sought funds to fight ‘Jihad’ in India, inspiring him to make a donation of Rs 50,000 (Pakistani currency). Meeting Hafiz Saeed on subsequent visits to Pakistan in 1999 and 2000, Headley decided to join the LeT cadre in 2001.

After undergoing multiple training programs at various camps in Pakistan between 2002 and 2004, Headley’s wait finally ended in 2005.

After quick name change in the US from Daood Gilani to David Coleman Headley, he landed in Mumbai on September 14, 2006, armed with a camera, two credit cards and around 3,000 dollars.

Read more about Headley’s revelations on 26/11

During his stay till December 14, 2006, Headley extensively photographed and videographed places like the BMC building, Haji Ali, Gateway of India, Hotel Taj, Apollo Bunder, state police headquarters, DN Road and Azad Maidan.

Headley handed over the photographs and video tapes to Major Iqbal, one of his ISI handlers, and later to Sajid Majid alias Wasi, one of the key conspirators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Headley then made a short trip to India with his wife Faiza and made bookings at the Hotel Taj and Trident Hotels. After conducting necessary reconnaissance of the hotels, Headley left India on May 15, 2007.

Headley visited India once again in 2008. He conducted surveillance of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and took boat rides from Colaba to spot landing points.

On April 11, 2008, Headley identified a landing spot at Cuffe Parade – Badhwar Park as perfect, and plotted it on the global positioning device he was carrying.

Headley made his last trip to India in March 2009 and conducted extensive reconnaissance of Chabad Houses in India, and other vital installations across New Delhi, Goa, Pushkar and Pune.

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