FEBRUARY 8, 9, 11, 12, 2016: David Headley deposes before a special Mumbai court from an undisclosed location in the United States through video conference. The deposition is being recorded via video conferencing.
DECEMBER 10, 2015: Headley was pardoned and made an approver by Additional Sessions Judge G A Sanap who presides over special cases related to terrorism. The court told Headley that he ‘disclose full and true facts lead- ing to the happening of the attacks within his knowledge and the persons concerned, disclose his role and the role of others, dis- close facts which he has admitted before the US court in Illinois and truthfully and correctly answer the prosecution’s questions unfolding the entire criminal conspiracy and other offences.’ Accepting his role in the attacks, Headley said, ‘I pleaded guilty in the past to the charges in the US and I admitted I was a partici- pant in these charges... I appear here ready to answer questions regarding these events, if I receive a pardon from this court.’
JANUARY 24, 2013: US District Judge Harry Leinenweber of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago sen- tenced him to 35 years in prison for a dozen federal terrorism crimes relating to his role in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and a proposed attack on a newspaper office in Denmark. According to Headley’s guilty plea and testimony, he attended the following training camps operated by Lashkar – 1. Three-week course starting in February 2002 that provided indoctrination on the merits of waging jihad 2. Three-week course starting in August 2002 that provided training in the use of weapons and grenades 3. Three-month course starting in April 2003 that taught close combat tactics, use of weapons and grenades, and survival skills 4. Three-week course starting in August 2003 that taught count- er-surveillance skills 5. Three-month course starting in December 2003 that provided combat and tactical training.
DECEMBER 2011: India’s National Investigation Agency filed a chargesheet accusing Headley, his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana, Lashkar founder Muhammad Saeed and seven others of conspiracy. The charge car- ries the death penalty.
OCTOBER 3, 2009: Arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago while on his way to Pakistan.
MARCH 2009: After the Mumbai attack, Headley made a sixth trip to India to con- duct additional surveillance, including of the National Defense College in Delhi, and of Chabad Houses in several cities.
NOVEMBER 26-28, 2008: 10 Le T-trained attackers carried out multiple assaults with firearms, grenades and improvised explosive devices against multiple targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the Leopold Cafe, Chabad House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, each of which Headley had scouted in advance, killing approximately 164 victims and wounding hundreds more.
NOVEMBER 2008: Headley was instructed by a Lashkar member in Pakistan, to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in preparation for an attack in retaliation for the news- paper’s publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
SEPTEMBER 2006-JULY 2008: Headley made extended trips to Mumbai each time making videotapes of various potential targets, including those attacked in November 2008. Before each trip, Lashkar members and associates instructed Headley regarding specific locations where he was to conduct surveillance. After each trip, Headley trav- eled to Pakistan to meet with Lashkar members and associates, report on the results of his surveillance, and provide the surveillance videos. Before the April 2008 surveillance trip, Headley and co-conspirators in Pakistan discussed potential landing sites in Mumbai for a team of attackers who would arrive by sea. Headley returned to Mumbai with a global positioning system device and took boat trips around the Mumbai harbor and entered various locations into the device.
FEBRUARY, 2006: After receiving instructions in late 2005 to conduct surveillance in India, Headley changed his given name from Dawood Gilani in Philadelphia to facili- tate his activities on behalf of Lashkar by portraying himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.
YP Singh was one of Mumbai’s finest and most outspoken police officers.
While still in service he wrote a
controversial novel, Carnage by
Angels, which exposed corruption
in the system. Following the
furore, he quit the Indian Police
Now a columnist, author, filmmaker and security expert, Singh
spoke with Syed Firdaus Ashraf/
India Abroad about 26/11 accused
David Headley turning approver
and what it means for the case.
What are your views on Headley
turning approver in the 26/11
This is a positive step because he
is already facing 35 years imprisonment in the United States
where he has admitted to his guilt.
The sentence in the US does not
get undermined or affected because of his turning approver here
and getting a pardon.
But how will it help India in the
This is a case of criminal conspiracy in Pakistan and therefore
there is no evidence of credible
nature to that effect.
The investigation being conducted by the Pakistan police
simultaneously does not invoke
much confidence or lend credence
because it is a biased investigation.
Even otherwise, it is very difficult to prove a case of conspiracy
unless one of the conspirators
comes forward and testifies. That
is why under the CRPc (the
Criminal Procedure Code) in India
the court grants pardon to a person who wants to turn an approver
so that various links of criminal
conspiracy can be exposed.
To that extent, I feel his testimony will go a long way in proving
the conspiracy part against many
accused persons whom we may
not know about.
Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz
Saeed and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi
were the main conspirators in the
26/11 case. Will Headley’s confession help India in nabbing them?
It may not help in the short run.
Pakistan is committed to saving
those two. It is widely believed
that 26/11 happened because of
the covert blessings of the Pakista-
ni intelligence agency, the ISI (the
Inter Services Intelligence). There-
fore, Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur
Rehman will not get convicted
because of this testimony.
In the long run, however,
because of international pressure,
Headley’s testimony will become
credible in Pakistan also. If
Pakistan decides to examine him
as a witness in their trial, then I
think there is a chance of conviction against those two people.
Do you think if Headley becomes
an approver in Pakistani courts
too, only then can Saeed and
Lakhvi be nailed?
Yes, once Headley turns approver in India and spills the beans,
there is no reason why Pakistan
also should not use Headley’s testimony in their case. But Pakistan is
a sovereign country. Their judiciary should also be inclined to take
this input. This will be possible
only if the prosecution of Pakistan
on behalf of the Pakistani government decides to bring on Headley
as an approver.
There could be something going
forward, but at the moment this
possibility does not seem to be
very imminent, because if Pakistan does that, a lot of things about
the ISI would get revealed.
Do you feel after Headley’s testimony, the Pakistan government
will have to act against Saeed and
Initially, Pakistan will show its
reluctance. They will try and discard Headley’s testimony.
If international pressure increases and Headley’s testimony can
be corroborated by other evidence,
then sooner or later they may have
to incorporate it. In the long run
this will certainly have a bearing
on the case in Pakistan.
Do you feel pardoning Headley,
one of the conspirators in the case,
is an insult to the victims of 26/11?
I don’t think that would be the
case. In a case of criminal conspir-
acy, as I said, one of the conspira-
tors has to spill the beans. If one
conspirator, who even otherwise is
serving a 35-year jail term, is par-
doned, it is not such a big thing. In
return he will throw light on
dozens of other people who live in
Pakistan and who were the prime
conspirators in 26/11.
Has diplomatic pressure from
India worked because, one wonders, what was the reason for
Headley to agree to turn approver?
I think Headley is looking at his
long-term prospects of a release
from US jail on parole because in
the US a person can be prematurely released on parole even though
the sentence continues.
If he becomes a positive element
in the trial in India and his conduct is good in the US jail, it will
be appreciated in the long run. He
may be set free much sooner than
Headley has nothing to lose but
only to gain by giving specific
details of the conspiracy.
What about Abu Jundal, the
other arrested 26/11 accused?
Where does all this leave him?
I don’t think Abu Jundal quali-fies to be an approver. He was part
of the conspiracy which took place
There is, of course, independent
How David Headley became an
‘Headley has nothing to lose,
but will only gain’
FROM DAWOOD GILANI
TO 26/11 PLOTTER
David Coleman Headley.
‘In the long run because of international pressure Headley’s
testimony will become credible in Pakistan also.
And if Pakistan decides to examine him as a witness in their
trial, then I think there is a chance of conviction against
Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.’