David Headley to be cross-examined from March 22-25

Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley will be cross-examined by key 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal's lawyer for four days from March 22 in the 2008 terror attack case, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said today.

"We informed the (Mumbai Sessions)court that Headley will depose from March 22-25 via video link from an undisclosed location in US, and the court passed an order," Nikam said. The questioning will take place after his week-long testimony before a court here last month about the role and plans of LeT, ISI and Al Qaeda to target India.

Nikam said if needed Headley might also be re-examined by the prosecution later.

Headley, who has turned an approver, concluded his deposition through video-link on February 13 in which he spoke about the role and plans of LeT, ISI and Al Qeada to target India.

Notably, Headley's cross examination comes in the backdrop of the controversy over alleged alteration of affidavit relating to the Ishrat Jahan case as he had claimed during the deposition that Jahan had LeT links.

On February 22, Judge G A Sanap had directed Nikam to contact US authorities for Headley's second round of deposition and inform the court by February 25, after which the dates of his testification were to be finalised.

Jundal's lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan had then sought four days to cross-examine Headley besides moving an application objecting to his being made an approver in the terror attack case.

Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US in connection with the terror attacks case, had made some startling disclosures during his testimony which began on February 8. He spilled the beans on how Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI provides "financial, military and moral support" to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen and how LeT had planned and executed the 26/11 attacks and the
role played by ISI officials, involving him too.

He also claimed that LeT had planned an attack at a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel a year before the 26/11 strikes and had even prepared its dummy. Deposing via a video-link from the US, the 55-year-old terrorist had told the court that --Ishrat Jahan--who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004 in Gujarat--was an operative of LeT.

He also said that Al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi's National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station here.

Headley also visited the Indian Army's Southern Command headquarters at Pune in 2009 on the instructions of ISI's Major Iqbal, who wanted him to recruit some military personnel to get "classified" information, the court was told.

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