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NIA looks to Headley's wife Faiza to fill in the blanks

By Vicky Nanjappa
April 17, 2012 14:06 IST
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Faiza Outlaha, estranged wife of arrested Pakistani American Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative and 26/11 conspirator David Coleman Headley, is likely to be questioned by the National Investigating Agency; a request has been sent out to Morocco, the country where she resides, to this end.

A lot would depend on the manner in which the Moroccan authorities react to the request made by the Indian government. Currently, as per NIA sources, she is more likely to be examined as a witness and not an accused, as there are many missing links in the 26/11 attacks case which the NIA would want to fill with Faiza's inputs.

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Going by the chargesheet the NIA has filed against Headley, it is clear that most part of it is very reliant on the statements given by the man himself. His interview with the NIA is in fact a carbon copy of his statements to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. NIA sources say that an additional chargesheet with regard to Headley is on the anvil but in order to do that, they need some more details in the case.

Faiza, according to the NIA, will be a key witness in the case and her statements would add weight to the chargesheet.

The other question is, how reliable will Faiza be. Her statements to the media have been varied. On one hand she had claimed that Headley showed no signs of extremism and was an innocent man. However, her later statements indicate that she had been cheated and lied to by Headley.

The NIA has call records and other details pertaining to Faiza's stay in India which show that she with Headley all along when he visited India. The NIA would want to know from her the persons he met with.

Although Headley has made a lot about that clear, it would still be interesting to know about the role of Tahawwur Rana, the Pakistani-Canadian co-accused in the case. Headley has not revealed much about him and the NIA would like to know the exact extent of Rana's involvement with Headley through Faiza.

Faiza has also said on many occasions that while she was having problems with Headley, it was LeT chief Hafiz Saeed who had come in between and tried to sort out the differences.

Which leads to the question, what did Faiza think about Saeed and whether she was in the know of what the LeT chief was up to while dealing with Headley.

The NIA would also want to know the exact nature of her complaint to the FBI regarding her ex-husband and why was it not considered at that time. The NIA would like to know the extent of the information she had on her, and had the FBI been more accommodating, what were the details she would have shared with the US agency.

There is also another interesting aspect -- the case regarding her crossing over into Pakistan by foot. A couple of months back Faiza had planned on writing a book and she had confessed to a friend that in the book she would reveal many more details on this aspect as well. The NIA feels that she could not have crossed over unless she had the right contacts and would want to know who had helped her out.

There is a great deal of suspicion that she was well-connected to some members in the Pakistani establishment who could have helped her cross over -- something about which the NIA would be extremely curious.

Armed with call records and testimonies from various persons, the NIA would like to incorporate all this into their additional chargesheet. It would be a first person account since Faiza was the one who was with Headley all through his India journey, when he went around scouting targets for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Getting Faiza down to India may not be very easy and the NIA would be happier if they get to record her statement. A lot would depend on Faiza and whether she would want to go ahead and do the same.

In an interview to a specific question -- 'Have investigating agencies been harassing you?' -- she had said, 'The only investigating agencies harassing me indirectly are the NIA, and I do not really feel good about it, and I would hope that they will just forget about me, because I'm just a woman, and I have nothing to do with all this drama. Someone told me there is a case against me in India, and I don't understand for what. I'm not hiding or running away, I just want them to understand that I'm not going to fulfill their desire, and they better forget about me. I also want to know why they are spreading my name all over the internet -- only me, but not the other two wives, and yet I am not able to talk to my husband. Are they targeting me somehow, or is there another drama that I should wait for?'

Click here for more Realtime News on David Headley!

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