Headley at centre of 26/11

Headley at centre of 26/11


India has alleged that the Mumbai strikes were planned and executed at the behest of state and non-state actors in Pakistan.

Shocking as it may appear, the name ‘Rahul’, which repeatedly figured in Headley’s emails, is filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s son Rahul and not Rahul Gandhi or Shah Rukh Khan as speculated earlier.

The revelation was made by the Mumbai crime branch which questioned him and let him off after preliminary inquiry a two days back.

But a top ranking official clarified on Friday that ‘no’ clean chit had been given to anybody as yet, although Rahul probably did not know Headley’s terror background. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday that Bhatt’s son had not been cleared.

Rahul’s help

A fitness instructor, Rahul reportedly met Headley in a gym near Breach Candy and became a friend. Later, he helped Headley rent a flat near Breach Candy hospital in South Mumbai.

Indian investigators have been provided with information by the American FBI, which arrested Headley and his Pakistan-born Canadian citizen accomplice Tahawwur Hussein Rana in October in Chicago, that may link some under-cover Pakistani diplomats stationed in the US to the Mumbai strikes.

FBI and Indian intelligence officials have been able to confirm and verfiy the nine visits that Headley made to India.

Headley’s US passport (No. 097536400), issued March 10, 2006 and valid for 10 years, revealed he arrived in Delhi from Abu Dhabi on March 6 this year - the ninth visit to India on the passport. He is also suspected of possessing a Pakistani passport.

According to police, he stayed in two hotels of Delhi in crowded Paharganj.
On March 6, he stayed at Hotel Holiday International and then for the next two days at Hotel Anand, from where he checked out saying he was leaving for Rajasthan, according to hotel records. Investigators believe that during his three-day stay in Delhi he gathered details on potential targets like the National Defence College  here.

He had also stayed in Mumbai’s Hotel Trident-Oberoi. He had booked a room at Taj Mahal hotel, but did not check in there. According to one Bandra-based property dealer, identified as Sunny Singh, Headley actually tried to rent out a flat there a month-and-half before the attacks were carried out. The American was accompanied by a girl whom he introduced as his wife. Sunny Singh is believed to have told police that he did not proceed further as Headley did not possess all necessary documents.

Headley had stayed at a guesthouse near the CST, where two Pakistani terrorists gunned down over four dozen innocent passengers on 26/11 night, before that incident.
The selection of Nariman House by terrorists has confounded investigators as the place was not known even among its neighbours.

There is a possibility that Headley, who changed his name in 2006 from Daood Gilani to David Headley, might have done recce of Nariman House and passed on information to the LeT, which carried out the attack. FBI information has so far revealed that Headley operated a visa agency at Tardeo, South Mumbai for almost two years until July 2008 and had travelled to India on business visas between 2006 and 2009.

Mumbai Crime Branch sources said during questioning Rahul admitted to having known Headley and having helped him rent a flat. However, he insisted he was unaware of Headley’s actual background and took him to be a genuine foreign national in India on a job.

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