Somnath temple, Bollywood stars and Shiv Sena leaders on LeT hit list: FBI

Somnath temple, Bollywood stars and Shiv Sena leaders on LeT hit list: FBI


These three possible LeT targets were revealed for the first time by the FBI in a footnote to the fresh evidence and chargesheet submitted by it against Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, the terror-suspect whose bail plea hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in a Chicago court.

Earlier, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had said that the National Defence College in New Delhi was on the hit list of LeT.

"In the September 7, 2009 conversation, Headley discussed four targets with Rana - Somnath (a temple in India) and Denmark, Bollywood (a reference to the Indian film industry) and Shiv Sena (a political party in India with roots in Hindu nationalism)," the FBI said in a foot note on page nine of the 10-page fresh affidavit.

"In his post-arrest statement, Rana falsely claimed that these were references to potential business ventures. It is difficult to imagine why a person who praises the work of a designated terrorist group that attacks India would look at an Indian temple or a Hindu nationalist party as a business venture," the FBI noted.

"It bears note that, as set out in the complaint, 'business' and 'investments' were code words used by Rana, David Coleman Headley (Pakistani-origin American terror suspect has been charged for plotting Mumbai terror attacks), "Pasha" (a retired Pakistani Army Brigadier) and others to describe terrorist plots," the FBI said.

The Somnath temple, located on the western coast of Gujarat, is the most sacred of the twelve Jyotirlings (lingas of light) of the God Shiva and is a revered pilgrimage center.

The FBI said in his September seven conversation with Headley, Rana discussed the National Defense College in India as a "target".

"Headley added this target to their list of previously discussed targets, saying 'sorry not four, five,' and identified the 'defence college'. Rana responded, 'right, this is it, I knew already'," the investigating agency said.

"Rana said he 'thought it is the target' using the English word 'target'. Headley explained that he would ask LeT Member A to 'do that first' (attack the Defence College). Rana responded affirmatively, 'in this matter, do the defence," the FBI said in the affidavit.

"After Headley stated that 'we' would use LeT Member A to carry out the attack on the Defence College, Rana again offered praise for Let Member A and the terror outfit: 'they should be really commended. I appreciate them from my heart'," the FBI said.

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