Mumbai: LeT and Al-Qaeda were convinced that 26/11 attack masterminds Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman would face only "superficial" action from the Pakistani authorities and within months plans were afoot for another terror strike in India, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said today.
Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US in connection with the 26/11 case, said this before a special court here via video link from the US during his deposition which concluded today.
The 55-year-old LeT operative told the Special Judge G A Sanap that after the attacks in Mumbai he was concerned about the safety of Saeed and Lakhvi and hence was in constant touch with LeT operative Sajid Mir, who was his handler, and Al-Qaeda member Abdul Rehman Pasha (former LeT cadre).
"FIA (Federal Investigating Agency of Pakistan) was conducting investigations, interrogating people and pursuing people from LeT. Hence I asked Mir about 'old uncle' (Saeed) and 'young uncle'(Lakhvi). Mir, in his reply, said that young uncle is fine and flying high. I think by this Mir meant that
Lakhvi's morale was high even though he was in prison at that
time," Headley said.
Mir also said that "old uncle is fit and healthy like anything. Don't put ears to rumours, he is moving back and forth like a tornado for his business and he (Mir) gave solace," the LeT approver said.
Responding to one of his mails, Pasha had written, "don't worry everything here is normal. By this Pasha meant that I need not worry (about Saeed and Lakhvi) as the action against them and other LeT members are superficial," said Headley.
Giving further details about anti-India activities, Headley said eight months after the Mumbai strike, Mir had sent an e-mail to him saying that another location needs to be scouted in India for future attacks.
"Mir in his mail has said an 'investment plan' needs to be made (meaning another location for attack). I told Mir that this time the attack should not be in 'Rahul (Bhatt's) City. I referred to Mumbai as Rahul City," he said while informing the court that all the emails had coded language.
Headley, who had scouted the November 2008 targets in Mumbai, said he had visited Pushkar, Goa and Pune in March 2009 and recced the cities as sought by Ilyas Kashmiri of Al-Qaeda.
He 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, Headley revealed.
After the deposition which began on Monday, the court adjourned the case for cross-examination by accused and key 26/11 plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal's lawyer for a future date.