The last visit of American terror suspect David Headley, before being arrested by the FBI, to India in March this year was to finalise synchronised terror strikes on Jewish houses located in five cities at the instance of terror outfit Lashker-e-Taiba.
Piecing together the travel trail of Headley during his visit to India in March this year, security agencies, who were briefed by FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice officials in New Delhi recently, are understood to have concluded that the U.S. terror suspect was scouting only the Jewish targets including the El Al airlines office here.
Headley, born to a Pakistani father and whose earlier name was Daood Gilani, has been charged by the FBI for conspiring in the audacious Mumbai attack of last year which left over 160 dead including six foreigners. On the Indian side, the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which was formed in the aftermath of 26/11, was probing the role of Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana.
Sources privy to the investigations said that Headley had carried out reconnaissance of Israeli airlines — El AI — office located at Cuffe Parade in March this year before moving to the national capital where he chose to stay in a small hotel at Pahargunj area.
Very quickly, the security agencies carried out the recce of the area and found a Chabad House, barely 300 metres from the hotel — De Holiday Inn.
The Chabad House in Pahargunj, Delhi is located in narrow lanes and is frequented generally by backpackers from Israel while either going to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh or to western parts of the country.
The sources said Headley also visited the house and posed as Jew while carrying out his reconnaissance mission for terror group Lashker.
Statements of a few have been recorded by the NIA, the sources said.
From Delhi, Headley travelled to Pushkar in the outskirts of Ajmer in Rajasthan where he insisted on a room opposite a Jewish prayer centre claiming he was a Jew and wanted a “holy sight”.
The hotel staff, in their statements to the NIA, said that 48-year-old Headley had insisted on the room view which was right opposite to the prayer hall of the Jewish centre in Pushkar.
After staying there for three days, Headley moved to Goa where he stayed at a guest house located in Anjuna village along the coast of Arabian Sea before proceeding towards Pune where he recced the area around Koregaon Park.
Though initially it was believed that he wanted to target the foreigners coming to the Osho Ashram, it was found later that he had scouted the area for targeting the Jewish prayer centre in the area.
Headley later left for Mumbai where he again went to the Cuffe Parade area and apparently firmed up some loose ends in targeting the Israel Airways office before flying to Pakistan from the Chatrapati Shivaji airport.