26/11- How localite Bashir was let off


Photo courtesy: CNN
Photo courtesy: CNN

India has clearly not done enough to push for the interrogation or extradition of Tawwahur without whose help, David Headley would not have never been able to carry out his operation in India. The man we are talking about is Bashir and in the words of David Headley himself he is the man who he was with from the time he landed in the Bombay airport for the first time on September 14th 2006.

Bashir a Bombay based operative was never pursued by any investigating agency and all through the investigation of the case, he appeared to have a free run before making a final exit to Canada. Bashir was with Headley between September 14th 2006 and December 14th 2006. The very same Bashir was with Headley when he returned to India in 2008 and 2009 too.

Sources say that Bashir was a resident of Bombay. Bashir was said to have taken up a house near the Sterling Cinema where Headley has watched a movie. This area is also incidentally extremely close to the VT station which came under attack that horrific 26/11 night. In fact the house at which Bashir was residing was walking distance from the Sterling cinema and very close all the locations that were attacked that night. Although Headley was with Bashir all along, he was put up in the Outram Hotel which again was very close to where Bashir lived.

While he stayed with Bashir all through his Bombay visit, he was there yet again when he returned in 2008 and 2009 when he carried out surveys in Delhi and Pune. In fact when Headley had visited Pune in 2009, he undertook the work he was tasked with which included surveying the German Bakery and also the Osho Ashram, he had taken the help of Bashir. The material that he had managed to collect and his luggage were all dropped off at Bashir’s residence in Bombay. On his return to Bombay from Pune in 2009, Headley made one last visit to Bashir’s residence to collect the material and also his luggage. At that point in time, Bashir told Headley that his job here was done and he had got all his necessary papers and even a clearance from the immigration department to Canada.

It gets interesting here since David Headley had told the FBI that Bashir was a contact provided to him by Tawwahur Rana. Rana whose office was housed in the Empire State Building had helped Headley a great deal with paper work. Bashir was a point man for Rana in India and helped with the paper work in India and also escorting David Headley around. What investigators say is that the moment the job was done and the final recon conducted in 2009, Headley was asked to get back to his base while Bashir was asked to take refuge in Canada which incidentally is the home town of Tawwahur Rana.

Bashir according to sources is of Indian origin. There has not been any effort made on part of any of the investigators be it the Bombay Crime Branch of the NIA to find about this man. Officers in the crime branch say that the Headley angle to the case is not under their purview and the interrogation report was never shared with them by the NIA. The NIA on the other hand say that they are having problems in tracking down Bashir since he is out of the country and since the case against Rana is weak according to the US law, they are having trouble in pursuing this case.

Headley says with utmost clarity that he was received by Bashir at the Bombay airport in 2006 September. The airport is under CCTV surveillance and it is strange that none have bothered accessing the imagery to even try and put a face on Bashir.

Headley had told both the NIA and FBI, “I carried only $3000-4000 during my first trip and two credit cards. During my first trip, I carried my mother-in-law’s camera with which I conducted videography and photography. I cannot recollect the model of the camera. I spoke to Dr. Rana before my visit. Dr. Rana gave me the name and details of Bashir and told me that Bashir would receive me at the Bombay airport.

First Visit to India (14 September 2006 to 14 December 2006): I was received by Bashir at the Bombay airport. This was my first visit to India. I had never visited India in any other name before this.

From Pune I went to Bombay. I also went to the Reliance Cyber Café and accessed my mail. I gave some money to the cyber café person so my account there would remain alive. I went to see a movie in the same theatre which I had visited in 2008. After the movie, I went to Bashir’s house and took some stuff from the luggage. Bashir told me his immigration to Canada was almost through.

There is a lot that this portion of the David Headley investigation has to say. Experts say that it appears as though the investigation agencies had surrendered themselves at the hands of whatever the US investigators were saying. Bashir is a very important link to the David Headley issue and it directly speaks about the Rana connection too. There has been no attempt made on part of India to seek details about Bashir from Canada where he is residing today. No attempt was made either by the crime branch of the NIA to find out more about the residence of Bashir in Bombay. The problem that is being cited is that he spoke exactly the same thing which he had spoken with the FBI under his plea bargain deal. This only meant that he parroted the exact same words and not a single line extra. In his interrogation he does not mention much about address of Bashir and this despite repeated questioning by the NIA. Officials in the NIA say that since there is a plea bargain deal with Headley, there is nothing much that can be done. However where Rana is concerned, it needs to move on the governmental levels of the two countries and if they are able to access him, a lot more about the mysteries of the case will come out.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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