26/11 attacks planned one year in advance, reveals Headley

Mumbai: Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley revealed in a Special Court that the dastardly 26/11 attacks in Mumbai was planned out over a year in advance by various groups and agencies of Pakistan, here on Tuesday.

Continuing his deposition via videoconferencing before Special Judge G. A. Sanap for the second consecutive day from a US jail, Headley said that in 2006, ISI official Major Pasha and LeT functionary Sajid Mir and others met to discuss plans to set up a business for (him) Headley in Mumbai.

Later, in November 2007, he met LeT top leaders when the proposed terror attacks on Mumbai were planned in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, he told Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

This meeting came in the wake of Headley’s recce trips to Mumbai since the previous year (2006) when he made video recordings of various locations, including the iconic Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, and they studied the recordings of the hotel very carefully, especially the entry-exit routes.

In a chilling disclosure, Headley said the plan was to attack the hotel opposite Gateway of India when a major military conference was scheduled to be held there.

Later, when the attacks were executed with precision, it was mainly attributed to the pictures and videos Headley had clicked during his recce trips to the city.

The 56-year old Headley said that LeT chief Hafez Sayeed – whom he described as “the spiritual head” of the extremist organisation – and its armed wing head Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi used to regularly consult the Pakistan Army and its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) on various issues.

Headley today identified photos of Lakhvi and Major Pasha before Special Judge Sanap and threw more light on Pakistan’s links with the 26/11 terror attacks which killed 166 persons.