Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was Pakistan’s prime minister in 2008, had visited David Coleman Headley’s home within weeks after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the Lashkar terrorist told a Mumbai court today, giving a new twist to his testimony.
“It is not correct to say that the then prime minister of Pakistan -- Yousuf Raza Gilani-- had attended the funeral of my father who passed away a month after the Mumbai terror attacks on 26/12/2008. Infact, he (Gilani) visited our house (in Pakistan) a few weeks thereafter,” the Pakistani-American terrorist told special judge G A Sanap, who is hearing the case against Abu Jundal in the sessions court in Mumbai.
The 55-year-old Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative-turned approver in the case is being cross-examined by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Jundal who is an alleged key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai siege, via a video-link from the US.
Deposing for the third day after his cross-examination began on Wednesday, Headley said his father, who was a director general with Pakistan Radio, knew about his links with LeT.
“My father was aware of my association with LeT and he was not happy about it,” he said.
When asked was it true that his half-brother Daniel knew about his LeT connection, Headley just said that he (Daniel) was not living in the same city (in Pakistan).
Headley, who has been convicted in the US, for his role in the November 2008 attacks, also denied using Daniel’s mobile phone during his visit to Pakistan before the dastardly strikes in Mumbai. He is serving a 35 year jail term in the US.
During his deposition, Headley said, “Saulat Rana, my friend in Pakistan, was aware of my connection with LeT and my visit to Mumbai prior to the 26/11 attacks.” “Rana neither objected nor encouraged me,” he told the court.
On whether Rana was associated to LeT, Headley said, “No”. When asked whether he (Headley) toured Pakistani locations with Rana before the Mumbai attacks, he replied in the negative and wondered why he would go around in Pakistan when the target was India.
Headley also told the court that he had no knowledge of any women cell and suicide bomber cell in LeT. He denied that National Investigation Agency suggested to him to name Ishrat Jahan (in the case). He also refuted meeting special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and Joint Commissioner of Police, (Crime) in USA before his deposition in February this year.
When asked if he was treated for any mental illness, Headley replied in the negative and chuckled, “Yeh kya kya cheeze mere khaate mein daal rahe hain Wahab Sahab. Nahin, aisa koi wakya nahin hua (Wahab Sahab, what all things are you ascribing to me...nothing of this sort happened).”
Headley also said that he does not know about who decided the date for the first attack (failed one in Mumbai).
Earlier in the day, Headley told the court that he had “arranged” a fund-raising programme for the Shiv Sena in the US and had planned to invite the then party supremo Bal Thackeray to the event.
The terrorist, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US, said that Sena man Rajaram Rege had told him that “Thackeray was sick and so may be his son and other officials may attend the programme”.
To a query whether LeT was in the know, Headley said he had discussed about the fund-raising programme with the terror outfit.
Headley also told the court that he had developed hatred towards India and Indians since childhood and wanted to “cause maximum damage since then”.
Asked about the reasons of his hatred, Headley said, “My school was bombed in 1971 by Indian planes and that time, I developed this feeling.”
People were killed in the attack, he said, adding it was one of the reasons that why he joined the LeT.
Asked whether he was in constant touch with US investigation authorities from 1988-2008, Headley said “no”.
He refuted allegations that US agencies were financing him. “It is baseless to say that my movement to Pakistan was known to US agencies.”
He also said it would be incorrect to say that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not insisted on fines to be imposed on him in the US court on account of his role in the 26/11 attacks.
“This is not true. It is not FBI’s job to insist on fines in the court,” he said.
He also denied that in collusion with FBI, he had saved $30 lakh fine amount and that because of this, the agency had not insisted on death penalty or life term.