Deposing before a Mumbai court for the third day in connection with the 26/11 trial, LeT terrorist David Coleman Headley revealed that Ishrat Jehan who was killed in an encounter by Gujarat policemen in 2004, was an LeT suicide bomber.
Ishrat Jehan was shot along with three men on the outskirts of Ahmedabad by the Crime Branch of the Gujarat Police in 2004. The cops claimed that they were terrorists involved in a plot to kill then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. On the other hand, CBI probing the case called it a fake encounter and claimed that seven cops had shot the group “in cold blood” and destroyed evidence in connivance with state’s Intelligence Bureau.
Headley told the court that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had mentioned to him about a “botched-up operation” conducted in India by another LeT operative Muzammil Butt where a female member of the terror outfit was killed.
Prodded by Special Public Prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam to elaborate on the operation and the members involved in it, Headley said, “(I was told) It was a shootout with police in which a (female) suicide bomber was killed.” He then went on to identify Jehan’s name.
“His (Headley) revelations are giving right direction to the investigating agencies and prosecution. It is good for all of us,” said MoS for Home Affairs, Kirren Rijiju reacting to Headley’s testimony on the controversial case of Ishrat Jehan.
The 55-year-old LeT terrorist turned approver has been deposing from an undisclosed location in an American prison where he is serving a 35-year term for being a part of the conspiracy that killed 166 people in the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.
On the third day of his testimony via a video link, Headley also made other revelations about the attack.
Headley told the court that LeT handler Abu Kahfa was instructing the ten terrorists from a control room in Karachi during 26/11 attacks.
He also gave more details on how Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI funded terror organisations.
“Before coming to India in September 2006, he received USD 25,000 from ISI’s Major Iqbal…I also got 40,000 in Pakistani currency from LeT operative Sajid Mir between April and June 2008,” he told the court, adding that Major Iqbal gave him fake Indian currency a couple of times in 2008.
He also said that Abdul Rehman Pasha, another ISI man, gave him Rs. 80,000.
“Tahawur Rana (Headley’s associate and a Pakistani native who operated a Chicago-based immigration business) used to send me money from the US in September 2006 when I came to India to do intelligence work on instructions of LeT,” Headley told the court.
He also revealed that Rana had visited Mumbai before the terror attacks.
“I advised Rana to leave India before the attacks as I was afraid that he would be in danger,” he claimed.
During his deposition on Tuesday, Headley had told the court that terror outfits like LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen were given moral, financial and military support by the ISI. He said he was working for the ISI and the LeT and that he knew that ISI official Brigadier Riyaz was the handler of LeT’s top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who was the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks.
He named three officials of the Pakistan army and ISI –Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samir Ali – besides retired army officer Abdul Rehman Pasha who was closely working with LeT and Al-Qaeda.
(With inputs from PTI)