26/11: Court hears arguments against Headley
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday heard
arguments on taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by
NIA against Pakistani-American David Headley and eight others
for planning and executing terror strikes in India, including
the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
The arguments remained inconclusive and further arguments
would now be heard on February 4.
"Arguments on the question of taking cognisance had been
advanced at length by the NIA... Arguments remained
inconclusive. Put up for February 4 for further hearing,"
Special NIA judge H S Sharma said.
The judge said he was giving the date so that he can
peruse the documents provided by the prosecution (NIA) before
hearing further arguments.
During the arguments, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan
Krishnan said, "The target of HuJI, LeT and officials of
Pakistani Army (who are accused in the case) were Indians and
tourists. Their target was tourist places like Goa and Bombay
where they had done recce several times."
He further said that Headley's role in the terror strikes
has been detailed in the charge sheet.
The NIA had on December 24 last year filed charge sheet
against 51-year-old Headley, his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice
Tahawwur Rana and founder of Lashker-e-Taiba terror group
Besides them, two serving Pakistani Army officials --
Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali -- believed to be working for
ISI, were also named in the charge sheet filed before the
Al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Sajid Malik, handler
of Headley, and Abdul Rehman Hashmi, former Pakistani Army
officer, were also named in the charge sheet filed against the
nine for waging war against the country and other relevant
sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The charge sheet was filed after two years of probe by
the central agencies. NIA had initially registered a case
against Headley and Rana but after a thorough probe, seven
other names were included in the case.
The charge sheet gives details of the 293 days stay of
Headley in India 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 harsh 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.
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, it said.
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.