‘Indian jets bombed my school in 1971, joined LeT to avenge attack’
Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley said here on Friday that he nursed a hatred towards India and Indians since December 1971 when his school was bombed by Indian fighter planes during the India-Pakistan war, which saw the creation of Bangladesh.
“I have this hatred... towards Indians since December 7, 1971... When Indian planes had bombed my school... The school was destroyed and many people who worked there had died,” Headley claimed on the third day of his ongoing cross-examination before Special Judge GA Sanap.
He was replying to questions posed by lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan, the defence cousel for Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the key plotters of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The childhood incident, when he was barely 10 years old, left such an imprint on his mind that Headley decided to join LeT later to avenge the bombing of his school. He admitted that it was one of the reasons why he joined the LeT years later.
‘Arranged’ fund-raising event for Sena
In another disclosure, Headley, 55, said he made attempt to organise a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena. Replying to a question, Headley said he planned to invite Thackeray for the programme. “Eventually yes, but it was in initial stages,” he said, adding that that “there was no specific plan to invite Thackeray for this.”
The LeT operative, who has been convicted in the US for his role in the terror attacks, said that Sena man Rajaram Rege had told him that “Thackeray was sick and so his son and other officials might attend the programme.”
To a query whether the LeT was in the know, Headley said he had discussed about the fund-raising programme with the terror outfit.
On whether Thackeray knew about the programme, Headley retorted, “How can I know this? I spoke to Rajaram Rege and he told me that he (Thackeray) was advised against travelling.”
However, Headley agreed with the defence lawyer that he had discussed the programme with Rege.
Asked whether Headley had asked Rege to convey about the event to Thackeray, he said, “In general terms, I never asked this specifically.”
Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US, denied that he was in constant touch with US investigation authorities from 1988-2008.
He refuted allegations that US agencies were financing him. “It is baseless to say that my movement to Pakistan was known to US agencies,” Headley said.
He added that it would be incorrect to say that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had not insisted on fines to be imposed on him in the US court on account of his role in the 26/11 attacks.
“This is not true. It is not the FBI’s job to insist on fines in the court,” he said.
Headley also told special judge GA Sanap that it is ridiculous to say that his association with LeT was within the knowledge of US authorities.
He denied that in collusion with FBI, he had saved $30-lakh fine amount and that because of this, the agency had not insisted on death penalty or life term.
Earlier, he had disclosed how the LeT wanted to eliminate Bal Thackeray but the person who was assigned the job to kill the late Shiv Sena chief was “arrested” and then managed to give police a slip.
Headley had also told the court that while he had not personally met any of the 10 attackers in the 26/11 case but he had seen the photo of one of the attackers on internet and identified him as Ajmal Kasab ‘Rehmatullah Aliah’.
‘Pak PM visited house to condole father’s death’
In a new twist, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Friday testified before an anti-terror court that the then Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had visited his house a few weeks after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 to condole the death of his father.
Deposing before the court for the cross-examination on the third day, Headley said: “It is not correct to say that the then Prime Minister of Pakistan – Yousuf Raza Gilani –had attended the funeral of my father, who passed away a month after the Mumbai terror attacks on 26th December, 2008. In fact, he (Gilani) visited our house (in Pakistan) a few weeks thereafter,” Headley told special Judge GA Sanap.
To another question, Headley said his father, who was a Director General with Pakistan Radio, knew about his links with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) but was not happy about it.
Asked whether it is true that his half-brother Daniel knew about his LeT connection, Headley just said he (Daniel) was not living in the same city (in Pakistan).
Headley, who has been convicted in the US, for his role in the November 2008 attacks, also denied using Daniel’s mobile phone during his visit to Pakistan before the dastardly strikes in Mumbai.
Headley also told the court that he had no knowledge of any women cell and suicide bomber cell in LeT.
He denied that NIA suggested to him to name Ishrat Jehan (in the case).