Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI provides “financial, military and moral support” to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, Pakistan-born terrorist David Coleman Headley said today as he revealed more startling details about 26/11 attacks and his role it.
Headley, while testifying before a court here for the second day via video-link from the US, said he was working for Pakistan Army and ISI besides LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and that he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was key man responsible for the November 26,2008 attacks in Mumbai.
He also revealed that LeT had planned an attack at a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel a year before the 26/11 strikes and had even prepared its dummy.
But the plan was dropped because of logistical reasons, like difficulty in smuggling in weapons and personal and failure to know the schedule of the meet, he said.
Headley, who had visited India seven times to scout for targets, said he had also conducted a recce of the famous Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station.
“I was also working for ISI and had met many people from the Pakistan Army,” he told the Special Judge G A Sanap.
He said his assessment was that ISI and LeT were coordinating with each other.
“ISI provided financial, military and moral support to terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed, LeT and Hizbul Mujaideen,” he said and went on to claim that his opinion was formed on the basis of hearsay.
When Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam asked him if he was paid by LeT and ISI, he replied in the negative and said, “There is no basis for this question.”
Headley, who had yesterday told the court that he was a “true follower” of LeT, said ISI official Brigadier Riyaz was the handler of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. When shown a photograph of Lakhvi, the LeT operative identified him.
The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the case, said LeT had planned to attack Indian defence scientists at a conference in Taj Mahal Hotel a year before the 26/11 strikes.
The “plan to attack the conference hall in Taj was cancelled due to logistical reasons, like it was not possible to get weapons and personnel to the hall,” he said, adding another reason for dropping of the plan was that he could not get details about the schedule of the conference.
“In November-December 2007, the LeT held a meeting in Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) which was attended by (LeT operatives) Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa. In this meeting, it was decided that terror attacks would be conducted in Mumbai,” he said.
“The task of conducting recce of Taj Hotel in Mumbai was assigned to me. They (Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa) had some information that there was going to be a meeting of Indian defence scientists at the conference hall in Taj Hotel. They wanted to plan an attack at that time,” Headley said.
“They also made a mock (dummy) of the Taj Hotel,” he said about the plan which was dropped later.