David Headley's startling revelation: Ishrat Jahan was LeT operative

On Thursday, the special TADA court continued recording the statement of David Headley in connection with the 26/11 case. In yet another explosive revelation during his deposition before a Mumbai court, Headley said that Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an encounter in 2004, was a LeT operative.

"Jahan (who was killed in a 2004 gunfight by Gujarat cops) was a LeT member," Headley said while deposing before special TADA Judge A. Sanap.

Headley claimed that the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi informed him about a botched up operation in India of shooting at the police at a check post.

"A LeT woman operative named Ishrat Jahan was involved. Muzammil Bhatt was the head of our group before Sajid Mir," Headley said, replying to questions by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

On June 15 2004, collegian Ishrat Jahan, and her three friends, Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on a road near Kotarpur on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The police team was led by then Gujarat DIG D.G. Vanjara, who was later jailed for his alleged involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh shooting.

The police claimed that Ishrat Jahan and her associates were LeT operatives plotting to assassinate then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Subsequently investigations revealed in 2009 that the shooting was staged.

In his statement, Headley told the court that it was ISI Major Iqbal who gave him $25,000 before going to India. Iqbal also gave him counterfeit Indian money.

Also Read: Day 2: David Headley deposes in court : 'Scientists conference at Taj, Siddhivinayak were on LeT's hitlist'

David Coleman Headley

He also told court that Sajid Mir gave him Rs 40,000 Pakistan currency and former major Abdul Pasha gave him Rs 80,000.

He also told court that Mahrukh Barucha was suggested as the secretary for his office in Mumbai by Meera Kriplani and later he selected her.

Headley also revealed that he advised his military school friend, who helped him get Visa for India, Dr Tahawwur Rana, to leave Mumbai before the attacks so that he wouldn't be in any danger.

Read Story: David Headley deposes in court: '2 previous attempts to target Mumbai before 26/11 had failed'

During questioning by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, he said on one or two occasions, Major Iqbal had also given him counterfeit currency notes.

Headley said Rana had visited Mumbai before the 26/11 terror attacks and was advised to leave for his own safety before they were actually executed.

Earlier, Headley told the Mumbai Special TADA Court that the Reserve Bank of India had rejected his application seeking clearance to open a business account in June 2007.

Making this revelation, Headley said he had received funds for terror from both LeT and Pakistan's ISI which was used for gathering intelligence and other works in India, including starting a business.

With this funding, Headley said, he opened an office in south Mumbai's Tardeo area on September 14, 2006 and the following month, on October 12, 2006, he even applied to Reserve Bank of India for permission to open a business account.

Interestingly, his visa consultant in Chicago, Raymond Sanders - who had earlier assisted him in procuring an Indian visa with false information - also helped him in the RBI formality, but the country's apex bank rejected the application on June 1, 2007.

In January 2007, hoping to launch a business in India, Headley had hired an office in Tardeo A/C Market for Rs.13,500 per month and named his landlord as Vora and Maroo Bharucha who was his secretary at the office.

The opening of office and application to open a business bank account were in consonance with the earlier plans by his handlers who wanted him to start a business in India.

Thursday's deposition was in continuation of the evidence which he recorded since Monday, with a day's interruption on Wednesday owing to a technical glitch in the videolink.

(With IANS inputs)

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