26/11: NIA chargesheets Headley, 8 others



26/11: NIA chargesheets Headley, 8 others New Delhi: American-born terrorist David Headley, founder of Lashker-e-Taiba terror group Hafiz Saeed and two serving Pakistani Army officers were among the nine people chargesheeted on Saturday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for planning and execution of terror strikes in India.

Besides 51-year-old Headley, NIA has also chargesheeted his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana, whom the US courts had not found guilty in Mumbai terror attack on November 26, 2008 in which 166 people were killed.

Two serving Pakistani Army officials -- Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali -- believed to be working for ISI, were also named in the chargesheet filed before the Special NIA court here.

Al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Sajid Malik, handler of Headley, and Abdul Rehman Hashmi, former Pakistani Army officer, were also named in the chargesheet filed against the nine for waging war against the country and other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The charge sheet, which was filed after two years of probe by the central agencies and later by the NIA, had been accorded sanction for prosecution against all the nine after being convinced of their role in planing terror strikes in India.

Initially NIA had registered a case against Headley and 50-year-old Rana but after a thorough probe and testimony of Headley to the NIA, seven other names were included in the case.

The NIA document gives details of the 293 days stay in the country of Headley and his involvement in carrying out surveillance of places of iconic installations which includes his recce of Mumbai before the 26/11 terror strikes.

The voluminous charge sheet mentions the fake plea made by Rana to the Indian authorities about Headley being a representative of his Immigration Law Centre.

It refers to Rana's meeting with 40-year-old Pasha, a former Pakistani army officer, in Dubai and his sudden exit from India barely five days before the Mumbai terror strike.

Both Headley and Rana are at present in the 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 stiff sentence.

The charge sheet said that Headley attended several basic and specialised terrorist training programmes of LeT. 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. 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 and after obtaining visa, he made multiple trips to India between September 14 and March 15, 2009,the charge sheet noted.

During his trips he conducted tactical surveillance of potential targets of terrorist attacks and collected tactical details including video footages of all the places which were attacked during 26/11 in Mumbai.

Headley also collected 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 and National Defence College.

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, it said.

PTI