Maj Iqbal-David Headley & the money trail

Tracking down Major Iqbal will be a tough task ahead for Indian investigating agencies probing the David Headley link to the 26/11 attack. While the Chicago court which tried Tawwahur Rana didn’t make any noise about the likes of Major Iqbal and their involvement in this attack, the National Investigating Agency says that the money transaction between the Major and Headley will be a crucial link to the investigation.

Even as Pakistan continues to deny the existence of a Major Iqbal, the NIA is sure that this is the man who has played a major role in the attack. The money trail for the recee conducted by Headley is an important link in this case. This angle to the probe brings back the question regarding fake currency and how it continues to dominate each and every possible terrorist funding.

Investigations into the Headley link to the 26/11 attack show that the Major had handed over 25000 dollars and also fake Indian currency of the like sum to Headley when he was surveying targets for the attack. The attacks were carried out on high profile targets and hence Major Iqbal of the ISI wanted to ensure that Headley moved around with the elite. The account by Headley is a testimony to the fact as to how he moved around with the elite when going about his job.

Headley got in touch with customers at Moksh, he stayed over at the Taj and all this has cost him a lot of money investigators point out.

The money which was transferred to Headley was through a Hawala transaction. A certain amount of the money was handed over to him personally while the rest was arranged to be delivered on arrival at India.

Headley who was paid in dollars did not have to go through the ordeal of exchanging fake currency. The fake currency is usually transported into India and then exchanged with a point man. This now throws open an interesting challenge to the investigators since it becomes obvious that there was another person in India who went about doing this job for Headley. The money had landed in from Pakistan and then the fake currency was changed at a 2:1 ratio. The interesting part would be who exactly changed this money for Headley which once again throw open the interesting question regarding a local link.

The investigating agencies have put under the scanner several hawala operators and touts who change money for terrorist operations. There is an indepth investigation on as to who in particular carried out this job for Headley, sources also point out.

Now coming back to Major Iqbal, it will require some expertise to nab this person. While the money trail would be one way of proving the existence of this man and also his location, the other ways would involve deriving voice samples and also another round of interrogation of Headley.

India will exercise all the options available to them. Indian investigators say that the voice samples which they have been seeking from Pakistan may not come after all. This places reliance on the law suit filed by the family of the slain Israeli couple where the ISI is under the scanner. India which is planning on joining the law suit is looking to put forth a strong case against Iqbal so that the court does take cognisance of the same and summons him to New York. However India will be cautious before it joins that suit in New York since it would be a party to the suit only if it has a lot of evidence in the case. It should not become a wasted exercise is what a source in the Home Ministry says about India’s participation in the law suit.

The voice samples which Pakistan had promised to provide India is another option that the NIA is exploring. While the pressure to get the voice samples have not worked either through diplomatic or judicial pressure, India is expecting the US to play a more crucial part in this. India would seek the assistance of Pakistan to get the voice samples as it is necessary for the investigation, sources also added.

National Investigating Agency sources say that they would be exploring the option of interrogating Headley once again, considering that the US has said that it could be a possibility if India did make that demand. The last time around the questions were pretty general in nature and this time it is expected to be more specific. There is an absolute need to nail the likes of Major Iqbal and Headley is the man who can detail him and help out Indian investigators.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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