June 12, 2021
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The Mystery Of David Headley's Testimony On Ishrat

The Mystery Of David Headley's Testimony On Ishrat

It gets curiouser and curiouser. Today morning senior Congress leader Digvijya Singh tweeted: 

In May 2011, Central government's counsel, Pankaj Chapaneri, had submitted a letter by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the Gujarat High Court saying that the reports that David Coleman Headley (arrested by US agencies for terror links) had named Ishrat Jahan, killed in police encounter in 2004, as a LeT terrorist, were baseless.

This seemed to be borne out by a copy of the David Headley testimony we had accessed soon thereafter

And this is where there is a twist in the tale.

Sudhi Ranjan Sen reported for the NDTV today:

In February this year, the Intelligence Bureau wrote to the CBI, which is investigating the killings of Ishrat and the others, with this input -that Mr Headley had told the FBI that Ishrat was a "female suicide bomber."

In a report more than 100 pages  based on the questioning of Mr Headley over seven days,  Indian investigators say he disclosed that  a senior Lashkar commander named Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had told him in 2005 of a terror operation that had failed a few years ago in India- Ishrat Jahan and those assigned with her had died.

This information was in the interrogation report of  Mr Headley that was given  to the Intelligence Bureau. The document was also made available to the media. But in the latter, the two paras that refer to Ishrat Jahan are missing. National Investigation Agency sources have told NDTV that Headley's comments are not legally admissible in any case other than 26/11 and his account is based on second hand information; so should be treated as 'hearsay'.

Headlines Today has put out what are claimed as the missing paragraphs:

See the report shared with media earlier

While it would still not have any bearing on the case under question, viz. "staging" of an encounter and the political responsibility for it, it does beg the question: why delete these paragraphs at all if this is what David Headley had actually said and was indeed given in a separate report to the IB?

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