Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley today told a special court trying the 26/11 attack case that he has “no personal knowledge” about Ishrat Jahan and he had learnt about the case from the media.

It would be correct to say that I have no personal knowledge about Ishrat Jahan, he said during cross- examination via video link before judge G A Sanap.
b’File photo: Smoke billowsout of the Taj Mahal hotel during rescue operation in Mumbai in 2008 | Source : AFP’

What did Headley say earlier?

While deposing last month, Headley had told the court that Ishrat, a 19-year-old college girl, was working for LeT. 

Who is Ishrat Jahan?

Ishrat was killed along with three others in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004. The four were accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. 

Is Headley misleading the investigators on Ishrat Jahan?

“When Lakhvi (LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi) introduced Muzammil Bhat to me, he told me that he (Bhat) is one of the top LeT commanders and has done some operations like Akshardham temple, Ishrat Jahan etc… the rest were my thoughts… I came to know about Ishrat Jahan from media. These are my thoughts as to why Ishrat Jahan operation resulted in failure,” Headley said. 

b’File photo:xc2xa0Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008. | Source : AFP’

Yet another denial!

The cross-examination of 55-year-old Headley, serving a 35-year prison term in the US, concluded today after four days of intense grilling. Headley had said during examination by prosecution last month that there was a women’s wing LeT. 

However, during cross-examination, he stated that “defence is pre-supposing this.” 

Explaining this, Headley said, “I had no knowledge of women’s wing that was for combat but there is a women’s wing that takes care of women’s issues and other social things”.

To a query by the defence lawyer on the “social issues” taken up by the women’s wing, Headley replied it takes care of religious education, widows and other such things. 

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Wahab Khan on behalf of key accused Abu Jundal, Headley also claimed he had told NIA that “a female member of LeT who had died in an encounter in India was Ishrat Jahan” but could not say why that was ignored by NIA.

 Balasaheb Thackeray needed to be taught a lesson

Asked whether he had videographed the residence of India’s Vice President during the surveillance done by him, he said only the outer walls of the building were videographed and it was en route from Sena Bhavan (Indian Army HQs) to National Defence College, New Delhi. 

Headley said LeT chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed had told him prior to the Mumbai terror attacks that Shiv Sena Chief late Balasaheb Thackeray “needed to be taught a lesson”. 

The Lashkar terrorist had told Saeed that this would be done and might take six months to accomplish.

b’File photo:xc2xa0An Indian security official stands alert as smoke billows out from The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai xc2xa0| Source : AFP’

 In another development, the judge G A Sanap rejected the plea of defence lawyer to defer the cross-examination as he had to meet the accused Abu Jundal in Mumbai Central Jail to seek instructions for further cross-examination of Headley. 

The court said Headley’s deposition cannot be deferred on this ground. Headley was discharged from cross-examination and soon thereafter, prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam moved an application for re-examination which was allowed by the court.