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Hated India since childhood, wanted to cause maximum damage: Headley

Published Mar 25, 2016, 10:17 am IST
Updated Mar 25, 2016, 2:00 pm IST
Hated India since my school was bombed in 1971, David Headley tells Mumbai court.
Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley (Photo: PTI/File)
 Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley (Photo: PTI/File)

Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Friday said he hated India ever since its planes bombed his school and killed staff during the India Pakistan war in 1971.

In his 26/11 testimony to Indian authorities today, Headley said he has looked to avenge that act ever since and that the school bombing prompted him to join the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).


“Since childhood I have hatred against India and Indians and I wanted to cause maximum loss and damage. I have hated India because my school was bombed on December 7, 1971 by Indian planes... the school was destroyed and people who worked there died,” said Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people in 2008.

Read: LeT attempted to kill Bal Thackeray but assailant was arrested: Headley

Giving a new twist to his testimony, Headley said then Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had visited his house a few weeks after his father's death.


"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 26/12/2008. In fact, he (Gilani) visited our house (in Pakistan) a few weeks thereafter," Headley told special judge G A Sanap, who is hearing the case against key 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal in the sessions court here. Abu Jandal is in Indian custody ever since his deportation from Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Also read: LeT, JeM have been assets of Pak: Defence Expert on Headley's revelation


Headley's father, who died on 26 December 2008, was a former Director General of Radio Pakistan and worked for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC. His half-brother Danyal Gilani worked as a public relations officer at PM Gilani's office.

Read: Ex-Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani visited my house: David Headley tells court

Headley told the court that his father was aware of his association with terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"My father was aware of my association with LeT and he was not happy about it," he said.

When asked if it was 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 also denied using Daniel's mobile phone during his visit to Pakistan before the dastardly strikes in Mumbai.

During his deposition, Headley said, "Saulat Rana, my friend in Pakistan, was aware of my connection with LeT and my visit to Mumbai prior to the 26/11 attacks."

"Rana neither objected nor encouraged me," he told the court. On whether Rana was associated to LeT, Headley said, "No".  When asked whether he (Headley) toured Pakistani locations with Rana before the Mumbai attacks, he replied in the negative and wondered why he would go around in Pakistan when the target was India.


Headley also told the court that he had no knowledge of any women's or a suicide-bomber cell in LeT.

When asked if he was treated for any mental illness, Headley replied in the negative and chuckled, "Yeh kya kya cheeze mere khaate mein daal rahe hain Wahab Sahab. Nahin, aisa koi wakya nahin hua (Wahab Sahab, what all things are you ascribing to me... nothing of this sort happened)." Abdul Wahab Khan is Abu Jandal's lawyer who has objected to Headley being made an approver in the 26/11 case.

Headley also said that he does not know who decided the date for the first attack (failed one in Mumbai).


Headley told court he had ‘arranged’ a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena in the US and had planned to invite the then party supremo Bal Thackeray to the event.

The terrorist said that Sena man Rajaram Rege had told him Thackeray was sick and that his son or another officials might attend the programme.

To a query whether LeT was in the know, Headley said he had discussed about the fund-raising programme with the terror outfit.

Headley also replied in the negative when asked whether he was in constant touch with US investigation authorities from 1988 to 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."

Read: US had once financed my trip to Pak, reveals Headley in cross-examination

He also said it would be incorrect to say that 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 FBI's job to insist on fines in the court," he said.

He also denied that in collusion with FBI, he had saved USD 30 lakh fine amount and that because of this, the agency had not insisted on death penalty or life term.


Headley had on Thursday specifically named late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and said that LeT wanted to target the leader. Headley also mentioned about a person who attempted to kill Bal Thackeray and was detained by the police, but escaped from police custody.

While answering questions asked by advocate Khan Abdul Wahab, the defence lawyer of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, Headley revealed some new important facts, including that his visit for reconnaissance of targets in Mumbai for the 26/11 terror attack was funded by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.


“LeT wanted to eliminate Shiv Sena chief… His name was Bal Thackeray,” said Headley when the defence lawyer asked him the purpose of his visit to Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar. When asked if LeT made any more attempts on Bal Thackeray’s life, Headley replied that he did not have first-hand knowledge of it, but according to him there was an attempt on his life and the person who tried to attack him was detained by the police and escaped from custody later. Headley could not furnish any further details about this attempt. He also said that he had visited Shiv Sena Bhavan twice and he was not aware who else was on LeT’s list apart from Bal Thackeray.