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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

Last updated on: December 24, 2011 19:34 IST

26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Vicky Nanjappa

Two years after his role in terror operations surfaced, the National Investigation Agency on Saturday chargesheeted Laskar-e-Tayiba operative David Headley, its founder Hafiz Saeed and two ISI officers among nine accused for plotting and executing the 26/11 attacks. Here's what the chargsheet reveals:

The National Investigation Agency probing the 26/11 case has finally filed its chargesheet after a probe that lasted nearly two years. American-born terrorist David Headley, founder of Lashker-e-Tayiba terror group Hafiz Saeed and its commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and two serving Pakistani army officers -- Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali -- were among the nine people chargesheeted by the NIA for planning and execution of terror strikes in Mumbai.

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.

Al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Sajid Majeed also know as Sajid Mir, 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 going has been though for the NIA especially since the nine acussed are not in India. However, the NIA did with a great deal of difficulty managed to get access to Headley, who spilled the beans on the 26/11 attacks, based on which the chargesheet has been filed.

If convicted the nine acccused face death or life sentence depending on how the prosecution is able to convince the court. But since none of them are in India, a sentence can be handed out for the sake of record only, unless they are extradited.

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Image: The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai during the 26/11 attack


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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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David Headley:

Headley arrived in India for the first time on September 14, 2006. He was being instrcuted by the top LeT bosses Saeed and Lakhvi while Sajid Mir was appointed as his handler. Apart from this, he also reported to Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali.

While in India he was specifically commissioned to photograph targets specified to him. He then opened up an immigration office and appointed a Parsi woman as his secretary. He went around the city and stayed in touch with high-profile personalities.

He started his recee in Mumbai by shooting videos of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation building, Gateway of India, the police headquarters, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe and Nariman House, mostly on his mobile phone. He researched on the Taj Mahal Hotel using Google Earth and used the tool to plan the attack.

After a recce, he visited Mumbai again in April 2008 and started his opreation from Cuff Parade. He took several boat rides and informed his handlers that Macchimar Nagar was a good landing point to infiltarte into the city.


Image: LeT operative David Coleman Headley


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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Tawwahur Rana:

According to the NIA, Tawwahur Rana was in the know of the entire operation. It was Rana who kept providing documentations and other logistical support to Headley during his stay in India. He had also set up an immigration office using which he helped Headley process his papers and a passport, thus facilitating his travel to India.

In fact, Rana acted as the point man between the Lashkar and Headley, according to the NIA. All the information that Headley passed on to Rana was being passed on to the Lashkar.

Rana and Headley, who were college mates, shared a bond. Rana, who deserted the Pakistan army, was roped into the opreation at a later stage.


Image: Tahawwur Rana


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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Hafiz Saeed:

Saeed, a top Lashkar operative, figures in every chargesheet pertaining to the 26/11 attack. According to the NIA, he headed the Mumbai terror attacks operation. He deliberated the various meetings that Lashkar operatives and the ISI had in connection with this attack. Saeed was all through in the know of the operation and had also planned an attack on the Shiv Sena.


Image: JuD chief Hafiz Saeed


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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi:

Second in command to Saeed, Lakhvi was also kept in the loop about every detail regarding 26/11. He attened most meetings that were held in Pakistan. Lakhvi constanlty instructed the 10 terrorists, who wreaked havoc in Mumbai on November, 26, 2008. Moreover, according to the NIA, he was one of the masterminds of the attack.


Image: 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi


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26/11: What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Sajid Majeed alias Sajid Mir:

Sajid Majid also know as Sajid Mir worked most closely with Headley. This senior LeT operative was appointed Hedaley's handler soon after he was shifted to the 26/11 operation from the 'Kashmir battle'.

An assitant to top LeT commander Abdur Rehman Makki, Mir helped Headley with financial and logistic support to conduct surveys of the targets in Mumbai, states his Interpol lookout notice. All videos and material provided by Headley were passed on to Mir, who in turn passed it on to the top Lashkar leaders. The duo kept in touch through phone and also emails.

Apart from helping Headley, Mir also briefed the ten terrorists who carried out the attack and he guided them during the assault. According to the investigation, he was present in the control room at Karachi at the time of the attack and had even prompted the terrorists to carry out a hostage crisis to secure the release of Ajmal Kasab, who was arrested on the first day of the strike.

Mir had visited India on a number of ocassions prior to 26/11 posing as a cricket fan. According to the investigators, it is believed that he had come to scout targets for the 26/11 attack.

Major Iqbal and Major Sameer:

These two men, who probably played a crucial role in the attack, are insiders in the Pakistani establishment. Before Headley and Rana started reporting to Sajid Mir, the two majors who were part of the ISI trained them.

Iqbal, who is a non-commissioned officer, trained Headley on gathering intelligence and also on how to take cover while conducting a survey for a big operation. Sameer on the other hand taught Headley the use of technology while undertaking such an operation. They also managed the finances that helped fund the attack and passed on $ 25,000 for the attack.


Image: Headley's handler Sajid Mir


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What NIA chargeetsheet on Headley, 8 others reveals

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Ilyas Kashmiri:

Kashmiri may not be directly involved in the 26/11 attack. He held meetings with Headley after the Mumbai recce. Along with Rana, they discussed the 'Mickey Mouse' project, the plot against Jyllands-Posten -- the newspaper that published Prophet Mohammed cartoons -- and the 'Karachi Project', which meant to carry out attacks in India using locals through the Lashkar network.

Kashmiri had plans to use Headley to survey more targets in India in order to excute the Karachi Project -- a series of bomb blasts and fidayeen-style attacks.

Kashmiri and Headley chalked out plans of attack Delhi's National Defence College apart from targets in Goa and Pune. Further attacks were also planned on Mumbai's Taj President Hotel, naval air station, World Trade Centre, the Siddhivinayak Temple and also the Bombay Stock Exchange

Through this investigation, the NIA majorly focussed on nailing the ISI, which played a pivitol role in 26/11. It is very evident through the investigations that the ISI tried to facilitate future attacks in India.

The fact that two of its officers were directly named by Headley during the investigation is also a testimony of the imprtant role the Pakistan spy agency played during the attack.

This chargesheet will now be studied by the court. The NIA is also expected to make formal requests to extradite the nine accused, who are lodged in US jails and some roaming freely in Pakistan. However, this will not be a deterrent for the trial to commence and additional charges could be added during the course of the trial, as there is a provision to file an supplementary chargesheet.


Image: Al Qaeda leader IIyas Kashmiri


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