NIA did not record statements in ‘exact’ words, says David Headley; dismisses knowledge of Ishrat Jehan

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) did not record his statements on various aspects of the 26/11 investigations in his “exact” words.

He said that on the fourth day of his ongoing cross-examination before a Mumbai special court that he had given details on various aspects to the NIA officials.

However, his statements were not read out to him, he did not seek a copy of his statement nor was it provided to him by the NIA, Headley said, raising serious doubts on the NIA statement.

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Headley referred to certain statements he made to the NIA on the former terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Muzammil Bhatt and Thane collegian Ishrat Jahan who was killed in an encounter by Gujarat Police along with three other male friends near Ahmedabad in 2004.

Headley made the startling revelation during his cross-examination before Special Judge G.A. Sanap by lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan, who is defending Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the prime accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

Speaking via video-conferencing from an unknown place in the US, Headley said that in 2003, LeT cheif Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had introduced him to Muzammil Bhatt as a top LeT commander who had carried out the Akshardham Temple strike and Ishrat Jahan matter, of which he had prior knowledge through the newspapers.

Headley said that the NIA recorded his statements in words different from what he had told them… for instance, he (Headley) never said that when Lakhvi introduced him to Bhatt, he (Lakhvi) referred to him (Bhatt) sarcarstically that he was top commander whose every major operation had failed.

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“I cannot explain why NIA did not did not record my statement in my exact words… They never read out the statement to me after recording… I did not ask for the copy and they never gave me a copy,” Headley said.

When he was shown a copy of his statement to NIA, Headley said that he was seeing it first time, but admitted that he had told NIA about an LeT women’s wing which was headed by the mother of Abu Aiman.