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Updated: May 30, 2010 18:47 IST

Headley quizzing to focus on his post-26/11 stay in India

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This courtroom sketch shows David Coleman Headley facing a judge in Chicago. An Indian probe team is expected to question Headley about his stay in the country especially during March 2009, his last visit to India.
AP
This courtroom sketch shows David Coleman Headley facing a judge in Chicago. An Indian probe team is expected to question Headley about his stay in the country especially during March 2009, his last visit to India.

The questioning of American Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley is going to revolve around the places he had visited after the Mumbai terror attacks and the people he had remained in touch with during his stay in India.

A three-member team of the National Investigation Agency, which along with a public prosecutor is expected to leave for the United States in the wee hours of Monday, has prepared questions about his stay in the country especially during March 2009, his last visit to India.

The travel details of Headley, the globe-trotting prized asset of the LeT, are being sought mainly as investigators believe that this visit may have been to finalise the synchronised terror strikes on Jewish houses located in five cities, sources said.

They said the government has kept ‘backup staff’ in readiness if the team, that was visiting the U.S., needed any assistance.

This will be for the first time that 49-year-old Headley, who was born to a Pakistani father and whose earlier name was Dawood Gilani, will be facing direct questions from Indian investigators.

The statement of Headley would be recorded by the Special Law Officer of India after which the NIA, which has registered a case against Headley and Pakistani-Canadian national Tahawwur Rana for waging war against the country and Unlawful Activities Prevention (Act), may file a charge sheet against him.

Besides the Indian team, those expected to be present during the questioning would be Headley’s lawyer and an officer of the FBI.

Piecing together the travel trail of Headley during his visit to India in March last year, the investigators of a central security agency were of the opinion that the U.S. terror suspect was scouting only Jewish targets, including the office of Israeli airlines El Al in Mumbai.

Headley had carried out reconnaissance of the office of El AI located at Cuffe Parade in Mumbai in March before moving to the national capital, where he chose to stay in a small hotel in Paharganj area.

The security agencies found a Chabad House barely 300 metres from the hotel. 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 ‘holy sight’.

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