ISI, LeT planned to kill Bal Thackeray: Headley

Mumbai attacks co-accused David Headley, who scouted Shiv Sena headquarters, testified there was a plot involving his handlers in Pakistan`s intelligence agency ISI and LeT to assassinate Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

Last Updated: May 25, 2011, 09:27 AM IST

Chicago: Mumbai attacks co-accused David
Headley, who scouted Shiv Sena headquarters, on Tuesday testified
there was a plot involving his handlers in Pakistan`s
intelligence agency ISI and terror outfit LeT to assassinate
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

Giving his testimony on the second day of the trial of
26/11 co-accused Tawahhur Rana, a Canadian of Pakistani
origin, Headley, a Pakistani-American, talked about the hatred
against Shiv Sena among his Pakistani handlers. 166 people
were killed in the November 2008 attack in Mumbai.
Headley, who has pleaded guilty, also told the jury how
he gave details about the potential landing sites in Mumbai to
his Pakistani handlers.

According to Headley, his Pakistani handlers--Maj
Iqbal of ISI, Sajid Mir of Lashkar-e-Toiba(LET), Pasha, Rana
and himself shared their hatred towards Shiv Sena and they
thought it is a terrorist outafit.

During the first hour of the testimony on the second
day, federal prosecutors are trying to prove that Headley had
direct communication with Rana and his handlers in Pakistan
Major Iqbal, Sajid and Pasha.

Questioning his links with the Sena, the prosecutors
are bringing in communication between Headley and Reggie (the
PRO of Uddhav Thackeray, son of Bal Thackeray), which Headley
describes as an effort to penetrate into Shiv Sena. Rajaram
Rege is Shiv Sena`s Public Relations Officer.

Headley testified he shared his communication with
Reggie with Rana, Major Iqbal, Sajid and Pasha.

Headley was asked about several emails he sent to
Rana, Major Iqbal and Sajid--all basically to confirm that
Rana and he were in direct communication with all of them.

The email sent to Sajid indicated that Bala (Bal
Thackeray) would be travelling with Reggie?s boss (Udhav) to
the US and that he could be assassinated "over here" (in US).

Headley said he and Sajid discussed that they wanted
to kill Shiv Sena people. "We have discussed. This man
(Reggie) was very important and would have given us access to
this organization (Shiv Sena)," he said.

Headley, who is Rana`s childhood friend, also talked
about killing Shiv Sena leaders and at one point jokingly said
about assassinating Bal Thackeray.

Headley said he forwarded the emails with Reggie to
Rana and that in June 2008 returned to Pakistan, met with
Major Iqbal and Sajid (more than once).
Headley said he had discussion with Sajid who wanted
him to go back by end of June and was given aa list of targets
for surveillance in Mumbai?-Taj, Chabad House, Maharashtra
State Police Hq and Naval Head station.

The Pakistani-American said he and Major Iqbal had
discussions on the Chabad House and that this meeting was in
Lahore before meeting Sajid.

He said Iqbal told him that Chabad House would be added
because that this was the front office of Mosad in Mumbai.

"Iqbal wanted to me to go back to India. He told me to
check the list being provided to me and check the landing
site. Iqbal did not give me the list. It was given to me by
Sajid. Had several meetings with Iqbal and Sajid before
returning to Mumbai," he said.

During his meeting with Sajid, Headley said he came to
understand that this would be his last trip.

Prior to going to Mumbai, he said he had a meeting with
Iqbal, had received the list of targets before the meeting.

Iqbal just told him to have a detailed surveillance and
seems to be upset that the Mumbai airport was not included.
Iqbal approved the entire list, he said.

Headley said he did not discuss the list of targets
with anybody else, except for Pasha who was very supportive and
happy and wished him luck.

Pasha, Headely said, was happy about the Chabad House.

Headley said he also met Zaki-ur-Rehman(LeT operations
commander). "He just wished me luck. For all the actions
that would be taken against the Muslims, this would be a
revenge for that. This is what he meant," Headley said.
Headley said he returned to Mumbai end of June and in
beginning of July started working on the task that was given
to me--conducting surveillance of these various targets.

From Mumbai, Headley said he returned to Pakistan in
July, met Iqbal and gave him the briefing. Iqbal again told
him not to leave Mumbai after the attack.

Headley also said he discussed about the attackers
coming to Mumbai on boat and that Iqbal was very keen on the
naval facilities there.

"Sajid and I talked about the safe house that
Lashkar(cadres) and I had used in the past. He asked about
various targets. He confirmed the landing sites, provided him
with the videos, photos and GPS," he said.

Headley testified that Sajid was training the fighters.

"He told me that they were training at a training
facility right outside Muzzaffarbad. There were 12 people
being trained in explosives, fighting a built up area--all
those were with firearms.

Sajid initially did not use the term stronghold option
as part of the attack strategy. He started using the
stronghold option after it was decided to drop the option of
abandoning the mission if there was a challenge. (Stronghold
option is when attackers keep themselves in a building and
fight with the response forces to the end, meaning fighting to
the death).

"If the fighter thought that they would leave then they
will not be able to fight properly. So they decided to opt for
the stronghold option--fighting till the end," Headley said
recalling his conversation with Sajid in September.

According to Headley, Sajid said train stations would be a
target.
"In September Sajid asked me to perform additional task.
Wanted me to go to Wagah Border ? turned in the phone that
they gave and it had signals. I returned the phone to him and
told him that this was working. He took the phone from me. He
said each of the attackers would be given a phone, All were
Indian phone, and he would be able to maintain contacts with
them during the attack," Headley said.

Regarding his conversation with Iqbal how the attackers
would go to Mumbai, Headley testified that Iqbal said they
would go on an Indian fishing boat since Pakistani boat would
not go that far without being detected.

In October 2008, Headley said he had another meeting
with Iqbal and Sajid in Lahore.

Sajid discussed about how they lost the boat and was
planning to get another boat. Sajid said they were planning to
get another boat. Iqbal was listening to that. "This
conversation took place in my house in Lahore," he said.

Headley said he had conversation with Sajid in September
and was told that the Pakistanis were training the attackers
in the sea and that all these guys would be wearing jackets.

Headley also said Sajid had told him about the plans
to conduct a car bomb attack at National Defence College in
New Delhi.

Other than the list of targets discussed with Iqbal in
in his first meeting, Headley said he also told him to open an
office in Mumbai.

"He told me to put an ad in the newspaper. In the
various types of job, he wanted to put in list of security
personal as he wanted that military personal would respond to
the advertisement. He asked me to engage retired Indian
military people," he added.

Headley said he returned from Pakistan to the US in
December 2008 and talked with Rana on Mumbai attack.

Headley said he talked to him about the landing, the
attack itself, the information from Sajid that he got

"I told Rana that I have been used for all these
locations. I was saying that Dr Rana was relaxing and trying
to calm me down as I was furious what was happening. He was
saying me different prayers to say basically. He needs to come
back from Canada and discuss with him a few things," he said.

PTI