The Mystery Of David Headley's Testimony On Ishrat
It gets curiouser and curiouser. Today morning senior Congress leader Digvijya Singh tweeted:
Home Ministry must clarify whether Headley told the Team which went to US to interrogate him whether Ishrat Jehan had terror links.— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) July 5, 2013
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?
Vijaita Singh in the Indian Express: US 'paper trail' linking David Headley to Ishrat Jahan emerges
In a new twist to the Ishrat Jahan encounter probe, a Gujarat police officer arrested in the case has submitted a letter in the Supreme Court purportedly written by the legal attache of the US embassy endorsing the claim that Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Headley had spoken about Ishrat having been a suicide bomber.
Praveen Swami in the Firstpost: Leaked NIA document indicates cover up in Ishrat Jahan case:
New documents obtained by Firstpost show the union government has suppressed testimony that slain Mumbai resident Ishrat Jehan Raza may have been an Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist. In an 13 October, 2010, note, the National Investigations Agency said Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Coleman Headley had told them Ishrat Jehan had been part of a “botched” operation run by the terrorist group. Later, though, mention of this revelation was removed from a 117 page record of the 26/11 surveillance agent’s interrogation released to media.
Highly placed government sources have told Firstpost that the note was found on file on July 5, when it was called for by Union Home Affairs Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. It was also shown to members of the Congress Core Group, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The NIA note has little relevance to the murder investigation—but does raise questions about whether the government suppressed information on Ishrat Jehan’s possible background, sensitive to the political fallout.
Its revelation also raises the question of what then-Union Home Minister P Chidambaram knew about the case—and what role, if any, he had in excising the information from the 117-page publicly-released interrogation.
There is even more cofusion about the Headley interrogation report, as it turns out there had been an earlier allegation, on June 23 in the Sunday Guardian which put the number of these paragraphs as 158 and 159 (and not 168 and 169) as mentioned by Headlines Today which have now been rubbished by lawyer Mukul Sinha thus:
Abhinandan Mishra, Senior Correspondent of Sunday Guardian on 22 June 2013 declared in his weekly that David Coleman Headley apparently answering to a question by NIA in June 2010 had said the following.
158. On being asked about Ishrat Jahaan, I (Headley) state that in late 2005 Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi introduced Muzzammil to me. Having introduced Muzzammil, Zaki talked about the accomplishments of Muzzammil as a Lashkar commander. Zaki also sarcastically mentioned that Muzzammil was a top commander whose every big 'project' had ended in a failure. Zaki added that Ishrat Jahaan module was also one of the Muzzammil's botched up operations.”
159. Headley stated that apart from this he had no other information/knowledge about Ishrat Jahaan
Abhinandan Mishra alleged that above two paragraphs which “established” the link between LET and Ishrat Jahan were deliberately dropped from the NIA report on the interrogation of Headley.
The paragraphs quoted by Mishra tells us that the Muzammil was first introduced to Headley in late 2005.
However on cross checking the facts from the NIA interrogation report, it is revealed that Headley has told the NIA interrogators that Headley had known Muzzamil since 2002. Further it can also be seen from the NIA report that Muzammil had become Headley’s handler around August 2004. And by January 2005, Headley had started working with Sajid Majid even though Muzammil was his handler. The aforesaid deposition of Headley can be found in the paragraphs 17, 28 and 33 of the NIA Report.
17. In the year 2002 . I met Muzzammil Butt, a kashmiri in Muzaffarabad . Abu Dujana introduced me to Muzzammil. Muzzammil and Abu Dujana had stayed together in Kashmir. Muzzammil is very important operative of LeT. He was Involved in a series of attacks on Indian security forces when he was in Kashmir. I recollect that once Muzzammil had told me how he had goneand killed civilians in a village in South Kashmir before the visit of the then US president . Bill Clinton to India. After coming to Muzaffarabad, he was initially given the charge of the India operations.
28. Post Training Activities in Pakistan: On and around August 2004, I met Zaki and requested him to change my handler as I was not comfortable with yaqoob. Zaki then handed me over to Muzzammil, Abdur Rehamn was also working in Muzzammil's set up. In his set up. I came across the following operatives like Sajid Majid, Abu Anas Abdul Aziz and the following:
(Extract from description of Sajid Majid)
Then in 2004 Muzzammil again introduced me to Sajid at safe house in
Muzzaffarabad . Sajid got married around three years ago. I also attended the
33. On and around January 2005, I started reporting to Sajid Majid. After this
I started working under Sajid Majid. After this I started working under Sajid
Majid .Though Muzzammil was my handler but it was Sajid who used to
interact with me frequently.
Headley therefore could not have been introduced for the first time to Muzammil in late 2005 when he already knew him since 2002 and Muzammil was actually his handler since August 2004. By the way, if the LET had planned the ‘sinister project’ of liquidating NaMo in May June 2004 and it was planned by Muzammil as claimed by Gujarat Police, how come Muzammil, Headley’s handler, did not tell him about this project in 2004 itself or possibly get him enrolled?
Right wingers are known to lie and falsify history to achieve their nefarious objective of creating wrong public perceptions. The Sunday Guardian’s article not only does this but goes a step further in planting the two paragraphs which are allegedly “dropped” from the NIA Report. It is obvious that the two paragraphs reportedly dropped could not have been a part of NIA report since absolutely contradictory facts could not have been recorded by the ‘expert’ interrogators of NIA.
The obvious aim of Mishra was to profile an innocent girl as a terrorist in order to create a nation wide confusion and malign Ishrat in order to justify the cold blooded murder of Ishrat. The chorus of the BJP leaders voicing Mishra’s falsification exposes this nefarious design. It is also very disappointing that the media has also fallen in the same rhetoric trap.
Ishrat has again proved herself to be innocent.
Sunday Guardian Article - http://www.sunday-guardian.com/news/nia-note-claimed-ishrat-was-with-let
NIA Report on CNN-IBN - http://ibnlive.in.com/news/read-david-headleys-nia-interrogation-report/154008-53.html
On Investigative Project - http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/1602.pdf
Abhinandan Mishra on FB - https://www.facebook.com/abhinandan.mishra
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