American terrorist David Coleman Headley told a court on the second day of his cross-examination that the money spent for the recce of Mumbai and the Taj Hotel to plan the 26/11 attacks came from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Deposing through a video link, the accused-turned-approver said he had not requested or demanded any money from the ISI. He said the entire plan, visits, execution and recce for the attacks cost him “much much less than Rs. 40 lakh.”
Appearing before Judge G.A. Sanap, Headley said he was planning more attacks. He visited India again in March 2009, after being given 1 lakh Pakistani rupees in cash by Iliyaz Kashmiri, an Al-Qaeda operative, and he visited the National Defence College (NDC) in Delhi, Chabad Houses in Pune, Pushkar and Goa.
Headley informed the court that he visited Shiv Sena Bhavan twice to target the chief. Defence advocate Abdul Wahab Khan insisted that he name the chief and Headley said: “The chief of Shiv Sena is Bal Thackeray” and said Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Sajid Mir instructed him to visit the Sena Bhavan and wanted to kill him “whenever a chance arose.” He said he did not have first-hand knowledge but “an attempt was made to kill Bal Thackeray.”
Asked about his property in the UAE, he said he had two shops which he bought in 2004 at a cost of $15,00,000-$20,00,000. He said those shops were still operating, and his relatives were looking after them.
He said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had not made a request for his voice sample but if it did, he had no objections to giving it.
Mr. Khan asked Headley whether he remembered giving any information about Shazia Gilani, his first wife and daughter of a retired Pakistan soldier, in 1999.
He asked whether Headley refused to give any information about Shazia to the NIA and whether he remembered giving out any information related to her to the NIA later. He replied: “I don’t remember.”
He was then asked whether the NIA questioned him about Shazia’s role in the 26/11 attacks and if he disclosed any information about her to the agency, he said: “It is not true as she did not have a role to play.”
After the rapid-fire questions, Headley snubbed defence counsel and said: “I will not answer any question related to my wife, and any communication with her is private and personal information.” A
sked 10 other questions related to Shazia and whether she knew about his association with the LeT, about the plan of the 26/11 attacks, about his fresh visit to India, whether she encouraged him or objected to the attacks, Headley’s reply was constant: “The same answer as before.”
Headley was then questioned about his second wife, Faiza Outhala, a Moroccan and Lahore-based medical student with whom he had visited India and photographed and videographed the city, including the Taj Hotel where the attacks took place.
She did not have any idea that her husband was planning an attack in the city, he said.
The 55-year-old Headley agreed that he recognised Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker who was awarded the death penalty in November 2012. He said he recognised his photo on the Internet and said: “Ajmal Kasab Rehamat Ullah Alaih” which, according to Headley, translates into “to be forgiven”. He said: “The person is dead, so he should be prayed for whether he is good or bad, don’t you know that.” He said: “The act of murder is not a good act, and I didn’t know him whether he was good or bad.” He also said: “Of course, any kind of murder of innocent people is a bad act.”
2015 Kashmir Despatch