Mumbai: In a startling revelation during his cross-examination on Saturday, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said that Jamaat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed wanted to teach Shiv Sena supreme, Bal Thackeray, a 'lesson' and Headley told him he would take ‘six months to complete the task’.
To a question, he said he had not requested for any time ‘to accomplish this task’, but said ‘it would take six months’.
55-year-old Headley, who turned approver in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial, told the court that he visited Bal Thackeray’s residence as well as Sena Bhavan in Mumbai for surveillance.
On Friday, Headley said that he had ‘arranged’ a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena in the United States and had planned to invite the then party chief, Bal Thackeray, to the event. However, there were no plans to attack Thackeray, who was on the LeT hit list.
Headley also rejected the suggestion of the defence lawyer that he took Ishrat Jahan’s name on instructions from the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
He also told the court that former Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani had visited his house in Pakistan a few days after his father’s death.
Answering questions about Ishrat Jahan, Headley said, “It is correct that I did not disclose any sort of women’s cell of the LeT in the trial conducted against Tahawwur Hussain Rana in the US.”
When asked about a “women’s suicide bomber cell”, he said, "I did not disclose this because I have no knowledge of this.”
Headley told the court that he hated India and Indians and had wanted to cause maximum damage to it since his childhood.
Answering questions asked by defence lawyer Khan Abdul Wahab during cross-examination in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks trial, Headley said that on December 7, 1971 (during the Indo-Pak war) the Indian airplanes bombed his school in Pakistan, in which his school was destroyed and people working there had died. According to him one of the reasons for him to join Lashkar-e-Taiba was to avenge this.
On the third day of his cross-examination, Headley informed the court that he had told his other associates in LeT that the nine attackers who died during the Mumbai attacks should be awarded Pakistani Military’s highest gallantry award Nishan-e-Haider. Headley stated before the court that it was merely a suggestion by him.
Another important aspect revealed by Headley on Friday was that the LeT was trying to free Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman caught alive after the 26/11 assault and later hanged, from police by “trading” hostages at Chabad House in Mumbai.
Headley told the court that after the attacks were over his supervisor Sajid Mir had told him that during the attacks one attacker (Kasab) was arrested by the police and LeT was trying to free him and hence the handlers had asked the attackers in Chabad House to contact the Israeli Embassy and “trade” hostages for Kasab.
Speaking about two earlier failed attempts to attack Mumbai, Headley said that the first attempt was cancelled because the boat carrying attackers had hit a rock and capsized.
Though all the attackers had survived, all arms and ammunition was lost and the plan failed. He however for the first time also said that on the second attempt made two-three days later (on their journey) the attackers had spotted an Indian fishing vessel and had attempted to open fire on it but the vessel escaped.
According to Headley, due to this the “boys” (attackers) were demoralised and were sent to a safe house in Karachi in Pakistan. Later LeT operative Sajid Mir had informed him that they were readying for a third attempt....