Nation Current Affairs 15 Feb 2016 Headley's divor ...

Headley's divorced wife, cousin respond to NIA questions on 26/11 attacks

PTI
Published Feb 15, 2016, 6:23 pm IST
Updated Feb 16, 2016, 8:05 am IST
The legal process of quizzing Outalha concluded only after the NIA sent a fresh request in French to Moroccan authorities.
American-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley (Photo: Twitter)
 American-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi: Faiza Outalha, the divorced wife of American-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley, has replied to all questions of National Investigation Agency (NIA) relating to her knowledge of the conspiracy behind 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Besides Outalha, the probe agency also recorded the statement of a New York-based cousin of Headley through a questionnaire sent through the US Department of Justice, official sources said.

 

Headley, who is at present undergoing a prison term of 35 years in a Chicago jail for conspiring in terror attacks in Mumbai and Denmark, had started a video parlour in New York in 1997.

The legal process of quizzing Outalha concluded only after the NIA sent a fresh request in French to Moroccan authorities for recording her statement pertaining to her knowledge of her estranged husband's association with LeT terror group. French is generally used by the Moroccan government for international diplomatic communications.

The Moroccan government had earlier sent Outalha's reply in response to a Letters Rogatory (LR) sent by the NIA in 2012 but it did not cover many of the questions asked by terror probe agency.

The NIA had registered a case in 2009 to probe the activities of Headley in India.

In the absence of any Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty between India and Morocco, the LR had been issued on the basis of "Assurance of Reciprocity", thereby promising the African country of all assistance in any legal cases in future.

Outalha had visited India twice and was used by Headley, a US national whose father was a Pakistani and mother a white American, while carrying out a reconnaissance mission at Hotel Taj Mahal in Mumbai.

During her stay in Pakistan, Outalha had met Hafiz Saeed and complained to him against Headley that he used to misbehave with him and also misappropriated her money. She had also gone to the US embassy in Islamabad and informed the authorities there about Headley's involvement with terror groups like LeT and Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, the sources said.

Outalha, who married Headley in February 2007 and divorced him a year later, has been able to give security agencies an insight into the personal life of Pakistani-American terrorist, besides his connections in Mumbai.

After the divorce the two had patched up and she had flown to Mumbai from Karachi. She came to India for a second time, entering the country through the Wagah border. During her first visit in 2007 she stayed with Headley at Taj Mahal Hotel and later in Oberoi-Trident, both targets of the 26/11 attack.

On her second visit in May 2008, she entered via Wagah and went straight to Manali for a holiday. She later toured some areas of Shimla, including nearby Kufri, a popular tourist destination.

During his recent deposition before a Mumbai court via video link, Headley had said Outalha had lodged a case against him with the Race Course police station in Lahore.

He said the complaints were mainly about his being abusive and not returning money he had borrowed from her.

However, In January 2008, she had complained to the US Embassy in Islamabad that Headley was involved in terrorist activities and was also closely associated with Lashkar.

Headley told the Mumbai court that Lashkar operative Abdul Rehman Pasha, one of the wanted accused, had advised him to keep her busy for safety reasons. "Perhaps Pasha had apprehensions that she might disclose the conspiracy plan," Headley said.

Besides her, the first cousin of Headley had also recorded his statement to NIA about his mental state while he was working with him in his video parlour at New York.

He said that Headley had become a devout Muslim and did not like working at the video parlour.

NIA, which was handed over the task to probe the activities of Headley, has already filed charge sheet against Headley, his Canadian-Pakistani accomplice Tahawuur Rana, LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, the outfits operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and five others including two army majors believed to be working for Pakistan's ISI.

The NIA, however, refused to share information tendered by Outalha.

Earlier, Headley's another wife Shazia and business associate Raymond Sanders had turned down a similar request of NIA to answer questions related to his association with the terror group, citing a US privacy law.

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