David Coleman Headley, The 55-year-old, who recently turned approver in the case, has confessed that the 26/11 attack was plotted by Lashkar-e-Toiba and has received full support from ISI- Pakistan intelligence agency. Headley, who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the 2008 attacks case revealed in a deposition over video conferencing.
During the interrogation with NIA, Headley stated that he was handled by Pakistan ISI's Major Iqbal and Sameer Ali and that LeT's Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi's handler was ISI Brigadier Rivaz. Headley said that the ISI and the Lashkar work in close coordination with each other, saying "the ISI provides financial, military and moral support to the Lashkar”.
He also informed that "it was my idea to open an office in India. It was a part of my cover (as an immigration consultant). I had discussed about this with Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir and they both agreed to it".
He also stated the ISI provides such support not just to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, but also other terror groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammad led by Masood Azhar, which is suspected to have attacked the Pathankot airbase in Punjab in January.
Headley further revealed that he had also video graphed the Taj hotel while staying with his wife Faiza, as a honeymooning couple. And Lashkar-e-Toiba had made a mock of Taj hotel before the attack. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST - was not surveyed as it was part of the escape route for the terrorists, he further added.
In his latest confession on the 26/11 attacks, the Pakistani-American terrorist also confessed Ishrat Jahan was a suicide bomber of LeT. Jahan was a 19-year-old girl from Mumbra in Maharashtra and was killed in June 2004 during a police encounter. Three others — Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar — were also killed in this encounter by the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch, who alleged that they were all linked with terrorists. However, Jahan's family ridiculed the blame and maintaining that she was innocent. Political parties have also begun their blame game after Headley tells court in his deposition that Ishrat Jahan was LeT operative. “Ten years ago, LeT mouthpiece called Ishrat a martyr, what Headley has revealed confirms this," said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. Meanwhile, Congress' Manish Tewari said that Headley's revelations did not justify the encounter on Jahan. "If BJP is making a charge that we tried to influence the investigation," he told adding, "we do not do what they do".
The deposition has strengthened India's allegations that Pakistan’s government give full support to the terrorist establishments and shelter them in their country. Indian government can now build the case of 26/11 attacks again and further demand Pakistan government to hand the terrorists involved.
The deposition is also considered major success and Indian agencies are relieved that he did not change his statements in the deposition as it would have questioned their interrogation. This revelation by Headley has also aptly come in time when the American President Obama has also condemned Pakistan for becoming a safe haven for new terrorist’s networks. It is yet to be seen how Pakistan government reacts whether it cooperates or takes a defensive stand against the allegations.