David Coleman Headley, convicted in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai attacks, has reportedly confessed to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and its Army were behind the serial attacks that killed at least 166 people.
According to a report by CNN-IBN citing the interrogation report of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) it claimed to have accessed, Headley has confessed that the Mumbai attacks were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on the approval of terrorist Hafiz Saeed and with the assistance of ISI.
As per the report, Headley also told the NIA that ISI officials were their handlers. While ISI’ majors Iqbal and Sameer Ali were Headley’s handlers, ISI brigadier Rivaz was LeT chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s, the report said.
Headley also said ISI Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha visited Lakhvi at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi following his arrest in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the report claimed. Headley further confessed that he was provided financial support for conducting a recce of Mumbai. He also undertook a survey of the India Gate, the Central Bureau of Investigation office and the vice-president’s residence in the national capital as well.
The claims come a day before Headley deposes before a Mumbai court through video-conferencing on Monday. Headley’s deposition also marks a first in the Indian legal history.
“This is for the first time in the Indian legal history that a ‘foreign terrorist’ will appear before an Indian court and testify,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
Nikam said Headley’s evidence is important to unfold many facts behind the 26/11 attack. He, however, refused to divulge any further information. Headley will depose before the court tomorrow and the day after between 7 AM and 12:30 PM.
Meanwhile, a Mumbai police official indicated that Headley can give a broader aspect of criminal conspiracy and those involved in the attacks which had left 166 dead and 309 others injured.
“He may also bare the role of Pakistan in case,” the official said.
The court had on December 10, 2015, made Headly an approver and directed him to depose before the court on February 8. Headley is currently serving 35 years prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks. He had told Special Judge GA Sanap that he was “ready to depose” if granted pardon.
Judge Sanap had made Headley an approver, subject to certain conditions and granted him pardon. The court is presently trying the case against key LeT operative Abu Jundal.