New Delhi: Two years after his role in terror activities surfaced, the National Investigation Agency on Saturday chargesheeted LeT operative David Headley, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and two ISI officers for plotting terror attacks in India including the 26/11 strikes. READ MORE: NIA to make Headley’s two wives witness
The chargesheet was filed in a special court in Patiala House here which also names 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Headley's accomplice and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana and al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri for waging war against the country and other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, official sources said here.
Sajid Malik, handler of Headley, and Abdul Rehman Hashmi, former Pakistani Army officer were also named in the chargesheet besides two officers Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali, believed to be working for Pakistan's snooping agency, the sources said.
The chargesheet was filed three days after the Centre gave sanction to prosecute all the nine after being convinced of their role in planing terror strikes in India.
The NIA had registered a case against 50-year-old Pakistani-American Headley and Rana on November 12, 2009 and later on added other names after investigation by central security agencies showed a large set of people involved in terror activities against the country.
Both Headley and Rana are at present in custody of US authorities and NIA has only got a limited access to Headley, who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence. According to the chargesheet, the NIA initially registered a case relating to the larger conspiracy of LeT and Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami to organise spectacular terrorist attacks on places of iconic importance in India. The case was originally registered against two named accused Headley and Rana and other unknown persons.
During the course of investigation, more than 300 witnesses were examined and evidence was collected from several sources such as banks, hotels, airlines, Internet service providers and telephone service providers.
The investigation of the case presented unique challenges, because all the accused persons were foreign nationals – seven being Pakistani citizens and two being citizens of US and Canada.
The conspiracy was hatched in or around 2005 by the leaders of LeT and HUJI such as Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Ilyas Kashmiri with active support and encouragement from serving officers of the Pakistani Army working for the ISI, such as Major Sameer Ali and Major Iqbal, to organize spectacular terrorist attacks on sensitive iconic targets in India over a long period of time, the chargesheet said.
Headley and Rana, both members of LeT, were placed in a position where they could work for providing tactical, material and financial support in planning and carrying out terrorist attacks in India and other places.
While Headley had the advantage of Caucasian looks, American upbringing and accent and American citizenship, Rana, a Canadian citizen and Pakistani Army deserter, had the benefit of a network which he had developed while running an office and doing business for an immigration consultancy in Chicago, USA.
Both Headley and Rana had passed out from the Hassan Abdal Military College in Pakistan and both wanted to participate in Jihad against India and Western powers.
Born in the US to an American mother and Pakistani father, Headley did his primary and higher school studies in Pakistan and went back at the age of 17 to live with his mother in the US, who was engaged in the business of running a bar.
He was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for being involved in contraband drugs smuggling. He came back to Pakistan and joined LeT after being persuaded by Saeed. Headley attended several basic and specialised terrorist training programmes of LeT. When the LeT and HUJI decided to plan terrorist attacks in India over a long period of time, he became the obvious choice for collection of critical data and information required for planning and executing terror attacks, according to the chargesheet.
The immigration business of Rana came in handy, as a front office was opened in India for launching Headley in this country.
Neutral contacts of Rana in India were easily available for Headley’s assistance in India. The office of Rana and his business partners in the US were used for providing documents for obtaining visa for Headley, it said.
Headley furnished incorrect and false information relating to the name of his father and his marital status. After obtaining visa, David Headley made multiple trips to India between September 14 and March 15, 2009. During his trips he conducted tactical surveillance of potential targets of terrorist attacks, the chargesheet said.
He collected tactical details including video footages of all the places which were attacked during 26/11/2008 in Mumbai. He also collected critical information and videos of places including but not limited to different Chabad houses in India, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mantralaya and Air India building in Mumbai, National Defence College in Delhi and so on.
He befriended several individuals, who had no knowledge about his activities, during his stay in Mumbai for carrying out reconnaissance of important places in India.
Rana, who was in constant touch with Headley, provided him with financial resources and other support for running the office in Mumbai which did not process even one case of immigration during its entire period of existence. Rana visited India on November 13, 2008 and left Mumbai in haste on November 21, 2008, just five days before the Mumbai attack.
The evidence collected during the course of investigation has brought out involvement of seven more accused persons -- Saeed, Lakhvi, Sajid Majid, Abdur Rehman Hashim, Major Iqbal, Major Sameer Ali and Ilyas Kashmiri.
During the investigation of the case, a three-member team of NIA had visited the US and interrogated Headley. On the basis of understanding between India and USA for cooperation in the terror crime cases and under the aegis of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), two requests were made to US for transfer of evidence in the same case.
The US Government transferred some essential evidences collected by FBI in the Headley-Rana case to India, which forms a part of the chargesheet filed by NIA.
Special Court, NIA had issued non bailable warrants against accused persons in the case and Interpol Red Notices are also existing against these accused persons.
A Letter of Request for transfer of evidence from Pakistan, has been sent in the case by the Special Court, NIA to allow completion of the pending investigation in Pakistan and collection of further evidences.
The NIA had registered a case against 50-year-old Headley and Rana on November 12, 2009 and later on added other names after investigation by central security agencies showed a large set of people involved in terror activities against the country.
Both Headley and Rana are at present in custody of US authorities and NIA has only got a limited access to Headley, who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence.
50-year-old Rana was found guilty by the US court of terror activities in Denmark but absolved of his role in the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai.
The NIA, while registering a case against Rana and Headley under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for conspiring to wage war against the country, had alleged that Headley had visited India "several times before 26/11 and once after" the Mumbai terror strikes, which left 166 people dead.
Barring Headley and Rana, NIA has secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against all the seven accused including Saeed and Lakhvi, who is said to be in a Pakistani jail facing trial for conspiring the 26/11 attack.
Headley helped NIA identify voices of handlers giving instructions to the holed-up terrorists during the 60-hour carnage in Mumbai in November 2008. The handlers included Abu Hamza, the man who carried out the attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and a key planner, instructor and handler.
He also identified Sajid Majid, a top LeT terrorist, who asked the terrorists in Chabad House to ensure that none of the Israelis were left alive.
Abdur Rehman retired in 2007 from the Pakistan Army as a Major. He worked closely with Lashkar-e-Taiba and coordinated the activities of Headley. He was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan on unspecified charges and later released.
Major Iqbal was Headley's handler who arranged funds and training in intelligence gathering. Iqbal gave him USD 25,000 in August 2006 to visit India. Another Pakistani Major Sameer Ali was also named by the Pakistani-American terrorist.
The Interpol had on August 25 last year issued Red Corner notices to Saeed, Lakhvi and Abu Hamza. These were issued after a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against the two for their role in the Mumbai attacks.
India has also sent proof and request for issuing a similar warrant against Lashker commander Zarar Shah and Abu Al Qama, to which the the Interpol said that it was analyzing the evidence against them.
Saeed had allegedly provided training to terrorists between 2007 and 2008-end at Muridke (LeT headquarters), Manshera, Muzzafarabad, Azizabad, Paanch Teni in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
New Delhi: Two years after his role in terror activities surfaced, the National Investigation Agency on Saturday chargesheeted LeT operative David Headley, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and two ISI officers for plotting terror attacks in India including the 26/11 strikes.
READ MORE: NIA to make Headley’s two wives witness