26/11 Mumbai attacks: Headley wanted to meet Bal Thackeray at Sena Bhavan: Witness
The prosecution examined former Sena worker Rege as witness no. 35 to corroborate Headley’s claim about his visit to Sena BhavanUpdated: Jan 06, 2018 14:08 IST
US citizen of Pakistani origin and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley wanted to meet Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray during his visit to Sena Bhavan in 2008, former party worker Rajaram Rege told a sessions court on Friday.
The prosecution examined Rege as witness no. 35 to corroborate Headley’s claim about his visit to Sena Bhavan. Headley, declared an approver, was the first witness to be examined against Abu Jundal, the 26/11 attacks handler and LeT operative.
In his deposition recorded via a video conference in early 2016, Headley said he had extensively video-recorded Bal Thackeray’s house from outside. He informed the court that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed had told him that Thackeray needed to be ‘taught a lesson’. He also mentioned that Rege was the first person he met during his visit to Sena Bhavan.
Headley said his handler had asked him to cultivate Rege.
After Headley’s deposition, the Mumbai crime branch recorded Rege’s statement, which was submitted by the agency through a supplementary charge sheet filed in late 2016.
On Friday, Rege admitted that he had met Headley and exchanged several e-mails. Deposing before the court, Rege said, “I know David Headley. He met me at Sena Bhavan in 2008. He had come with one Vilas Varak.” Rege said that Varak had introduced Headley to him as an immigration consultant.
Rege said when he asked Headley the purpose of his visit to the Bhavan, Headley told him that “he wanted to meet Sena chief Bal Thackeray and see Sena Bhavan”. Rege said he denied to give him access to both.
“He told me that he wanted to guide Shiv Sena activists at the Bhavan on the issue of immigration,” Rege told the court.
He said Headley continued to contact him over the programme. Rege said that they had exchanged several mails on the immigration event.
He was later asked to identify Headley in the photograph and also was shown the mails exchanged between Headley and Rege. He recognised Headley and confirmed the emails.
Headley, in his deposition, said he had organised a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena in the US and planned to invite Bal Thackeray for the event.
Apart from Rege, the prosecution on Friday also examined Sanju Soni, general manager of a five-star hotel in Mumbai where Headley stayed during his visit to Mumbai. Soni confirmed that Headley stayed in the hotel between April 30, 2007 and May 2, 2007 and he paid the hotel bill using his credit card.