NIA tracking money trail, film stars

Mahesh Bhatts son Rahul is said to have introduced Headley to Hashmi

NIA tracking money trail, film stars

A more sensational element of the investigations into Headley’s links in India involves his suspected liaison with at least eight Bollywood actors, including actor-singer Emraan Hashmi who is film-maker Mahesh Bhatt’s nephew. Investigators are believed to have found phone records that link Hashmi to Headley. Mahesh Bhatt's son, Rahul Bhatt allegedly introduced Hashmi to Headley. Sources also said it was Rahul who told investigators that Hashmi and Headley were in touch.

Top Home Ministry sources told Deccan Herald that “every effort”, including collaboration with the American FBI, was being made to “get to the source of the money”. This, the sources said, involved finding out whether money was wire-transferred by either Headley or Rana or to them by their handlers in Pakistan.

 In this context, the sources said the NIA was also making efforts to find out the people and other networks that Headley might have built “sleeper cells” in the cities that he visited during the course of his 11-month stay in various parts of the country between 2006 and 2009.

Headley moved freely in Mumbai and across the length and breadth of India for three years prior to 26/11 attacks and might have provided video footages to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to carry out its plot. NIA sleuths in Mumbai are now tracking Headley's possible links with LeT operatives and terrorists like Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, who were undergoing training in Pakistan at the time Headley was in India.

Kasab’s confession

Kasab had said in his confession that during their training, the terrorists were shown video footages of targets such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Taj Mahal hotel.

Only a foreigner like Headley could have done such a job without arousing any suspicion from the police, and it is this aspect that the NIA sleuths are now investigating, a senior crime branch officer familier with the ongoing probe said.

The sleuths visited a fifth floor apartment of a building ‘Shyam Nivas’ on B Desai road in the Breach Candy area of South Mumbai. This apartment was rented by Headley for a year. The building is close to the American consulate in the area. The sleuths also visited Tardeo AC market from where Headley ran an immigration service during his stay in India between 2006 and 2009.

The NIA is scrutinising the documents and other details collected by the Mumbai Crime Branch during its probe into the 26/11 attacks.

Osho ashram visit

It has also been established that Headley visited Pune and its famous 'Osho Ashram' twice during 2008-09. An ashram spokesperson confimed from its record that Headley indeed visited the ashram "for meditation" and said full cooperation was being extended to the investigators in the matter.

Headley stayed in Pune for a day in June 2008 and later in March 2009 and visited the ashram frequented by foreigners. An NIA  team visited the city in connection with the probe and provided details of Headley's visit to the local police.

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