God Mother, and now the turn around!

In bettter times
When the powerful Reddy brothers of Karnataka staged a coup against B S Yeddyurappa a couple of months back, they had said something very important,” our final decision would depend on what Sushma Amma says.”
The Reddy brothers of Bellary have never been discreet about their association with Sushma Swaraj. The association which began when Sushma contested the polls against Sonia Gandhi from the Bellary parliamentary seat remained intact and there was never a moment when the Reddy’s failed to drop her name and also say how she was responsible in moulding their political career.
However today there appears to be trouble with Sushma Swaraj publicly disowning them and stating that they were inducted into the Karnataka cabinet thanks to Arun Jaitley. However much Sushma may deny that she has close links with the Reddy brothers, the fact of the matter remains that she has been a god mother to these mining lords of Bellary.
The question now is why has such a statement been made. Sources within the BJP, Karnataka say that the reasons could be threefold. A fall out between Sushma and Arun Jaitley, the end of the utility of the Reddy brothers and lastly the all important mining report slated to be out in the next two weeks.
BJP insiders in Karnataka say that as of today, the Reddy brothers are taboo in the BJP circles. The mining report is just around the corner and it is expected to be an explosive one. Justice Santhosh Hegde the Lokayukta of Karnataka had put out a report earlier too, but in that report he had not taken any names and had just dealt with the manner in which illegal mining was undertaken in Bellary. However this final report before he retires in August is expected to deal with specific individuals and sources say that the mining lobby in Karnataka will be exposed.
This report is in one way or the other going to put the Reddy brothers in very poor light and there will be immense pressure on the Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa to table the report and also act against the Reddys. It is not as though the Reddy’s had started mining only after they became ministers in the Yeddyurappa government. Their mining story dates back to slightly over a decade. In fact there have been statements made that it was Sushma Swaraj who advised to start mining in Bellary, sources also point out. When this being the scenario, it was obvious for Sushma to distance herself from the Reddy and hence went on to make that statement, BJP insiders also point out.
The Reddy brothers have however decided not to react to any of these events. They have preferred to stay mum and watch the proceedings as they unfold. Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa too has remained tight lipped. The last thing he would want is another rift within the party as he has spent the last three years protecting his seat and miraclulously surviving every little coup staged against him. K S Eshwrappa, the party president however dismisses this as a non event. Sushma’s statement was only an expression of her resentment against the portrayal that she is playing God mother to them and the entire issue has been blown out of proportion, he also adds. She was only trying to clarify that she is not promoting and hence I request not to make a big issue out of this.
The Reddy brothers have however not been discreet about the support they enjoy from Sushma. They in fact attribute everything about them to her. However today they find themselves in bad situation. Their support base is clearly vanishing and it is not secret that Yeddyurappa himself would like to see their back. Yeddyurappa had started to face problems from the Reddys right from the days of the coalition government with the Janata Dal(S) when he was a deputy chief minister. They had brought out corruption charges against the then Chief Minsiter Kumaraswamy. This became the platform for the JD(S) to say that they would not hand over power after the completion of 20 months which eventually forced elections in the state. Once Yeddyurappa became the Chief Minister, they staged a coup by taking with them 50 MLAs and relented only once the high command stepped in.
However the BJP cannot deny that they had a lot of utility from the Reddy brothers. When the elections were complete, the BJP needed the support of at least 4 independents to form the government. It was the Reddy brothers who took care of that aspect. Each time there was a dissidence within the BJP, it was the Reddy brothers who were sent in to diffuse the situation.
From that position of power in the BJP where even the CM was scared to talk to them, the Reddy’s find themselves alone today. The problems for the Reddys started with the death of Dr Y S Rajashekhar Reddy. It is said that thanks to him they enjoyed a huge clout in Andhra Pradesh and were able to further their mining interests in that state. However they ran into problems with the death of YSR and had to face many inquiries. In addition to this, the union government too started to create problems for the Reddy brothers and today rumour has it that there would be a very big raid by the CBI at the mines owned by these brothers.
In addition to this, Yeddyurappa was too forced to take many harsh decisions against the Reddy due to the pressure from the opposition. The CM had to impose a ban on the export of iron ore from Karnataka which also caused a dent in the businesses run by the Reddys.
The Reddys however clung on to the support by a large section of the MLAs within the BJP. However most of them turned their back on the Reddys following the first coup staged by them. The fact is that most of them felt cheated that the Reddy dropped them like hot bricks when they had their issues sorted out. This was clear when the very same MLAs staged a coup by themselves and they did not allow the Reddys to come close and even negotiate.
The days to come will be interesting since it would be make or break for the Reddy brothers. At the moment all the MLAs in the BJP would want a peaceful completion of their terms and they do realize that they would not be able to show their face in their respective constituencies if they continued to destabilise the government. The Reddy brothers too are expected to stay calm as any move by them at this point of time would mean that they will sacrifice themselves and there is none at the moment in the party to espouse their cause.


Nothing new in Headley’s testimony

PM briefing on board Air India One
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh sent out a strong message to Pakistan and hoped that Pakistan will recognise this monster of terrorism which they unleashed at one time. Speaking on board Air India’s special aircraft during his return from Dar es Salaam, he said that this monster unleashed by Pakistan is hurting them as much as it can hurt any country.
Let me say that what happens in our neighbourhood matters a great deal. I have always maintained that a strong stable Pakistan is in the interest of our country and therfore events there worry us. It is in all these backdrops that we have to look at our relations with Pakistan.
On the ongoing David Headley case the PM said that it goes without saying that we must use every possible opportunity to talk to Pakistan and convince them that terror as an instrument of state policy is simply not acceptable to people in the civilised world, as a whole. As Pakistan’s neighbour we have great worries about. The terror machine that is still intact in Pakistan. We would like Pakistan to take much more effective action to curb the activities of those jihadi groups which particularly target a country like India.
On the confessions of Headley, Dr Singh said, well this trial has not brought out anything new that we didn’t know. The trial is still on, we will study it once its complete. But as I said it has not revealed anything which we didn’t know.
On the initiative that India needs to take against Pakistan in the wake of the Headley revelation, the Prime Minister said that we must look at two seperate fronts. One is the bilateral negotiations with Pakistan. We must convince them that it is in their own interest that they should help us tackle the problem of terror in our region. That those jihadi groups that target India, as a destination for their terror, they must be effectively curbed and dealt with. That is an ongoing process and at every opportunity that we have we should continue to impress upon Pakistan. The second thing is the global concern about terrorism. The world has seen, as never before that the epicentre of terror is in our neighbourhood. They appreciate India’s point and it should be our effort to mobilise world opinion to ensure that this terror machinery which operates in our neighbourhood in Pakistan is brought under control.
The PM further added that he has not made up his mind on visiting Pakistan anytime soon. But I believe that good relations between India and all its neighbours are desirable and indeed essential for us in South Asia to realise our development ambitions. The more of what I see happening in Pakistan the more I am convinced that Pakistan’s leadership should now wake up and must recognise that the terror machine they have or at least some elements in the country patronise is not working to anybody’s advantage.

On the 2G scam: Dr Manmohan Singh says that as far as the 2G investigation is concerned, the CBI is at work and the matter is in the courts. It would not be proper for me to make any comments about the progress of the case.

Coalition politicsaffecting governance? I have outlined in my speech on the ocassion of the 2nd anniversary of the UPA government that our basic agenda is to accelerate the tempo of economic growth to ensure that our country grows at the rate of 9 to 10 per cent per annum and also ensure that it benefits all communities.

Left politics and the DMK alliance: well I am not an expert on Left politics. People of Kerala and West Bengal have spoken and that is a telling manifestation that Left politics has also to learn important lessons about the functioning of our polity.
On the coalition with the DMK in the wake of the 2G scam, the Prime Minister said that as of now the DMK is our partner and there is no change.

Christine Lagarde for IMF: It is not proper for me to discuss individual names. We are in touch with various countries and we hope that at the end of it, a consensus would emerge. I do see that there is a desire in Europe to have a European occupying this coveted position. But we would like to remind the industrialised world that there is a tacit arrangement that the top positions in international financial institutions must not go to specific countries as a matter of right but the best available talent in the world should be available to man these institutions. however you do recognise that those who excercise power they don’t want to give up power and hence the struggle for a better balanced world order a more equitable world order including the management of global instituions like the IMF, world bank security council, it is going to be a long haul I am afraid.
On complaints of investment climate and burecratic delays Dr Singh said that he did agree with the proposition that India no longer is a preferred or hospitable destination for foriegn investment inflows. Investment flows may have ebbed but there are events beyond Indias control- the fact that american economy has staged a recovery of sorts, the fact that interest rates are going up, that limits some flows were coming in, which were coming here to take advantage of interest arbitage. But I don’t buy the argument that India has ceased to be a hospitavle profitable destination for foriegn investment.

NIA’s first chief on the Headley case

The Tawwahur Rana trial is on in full swing and the National Investigating Agency has already started building its case. The NIA was set up immediately after the horrific 26/11 attack exclusively to investigate terror cases in India. Radhavinod Raju was appointed as the first director general of the NIA. The immediate challenge before the NIA was the 26/11 case which eventually branched out into a much larger case with an American angle which we today call as the David Headley case. Today the trial is underway in Chicago and Headley has spoken a lot in his testimony. Now India and the rest of the world will wait for what Rana has to say and in the Indian concept their investigation would be complete once they examine Rana.

R V Raju who paved the way for S C Sinha as the director general of the NIA speaks about the role that the NIA will play from here onwards where both Headley and Rana are concerned. In this interview with rediff.com, Raju who was also the Special Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir says in this entire case, the ISI stands exposed and there will be pressure on Pakistan to restore civilian rule. More importantly the onus will be upon the United States of America to lead this initiative. He also goes on to say that the NIA has collected a lot of evidence in this case and adds that there is a great need to examine Rana now.

What role will the NIA have to play from here onwards in the David Headley
The NIA’s case is different, it looks at the conspiracy to attack various Indian targets. Headley’s statement, in so far as it advances this case, will be useful for us. We will try to examine Rana to advance this case, and will look forward to all evidence that Headley’s testimony throws up to buttress this case, including role of ISI officers and LeT operatives.

Do you think that the FBI has been cooperative with the NIA where this case
is concerned?
The FBI did cooperate with us within professional limits. We have ourselves collected quite a lot of evidence. But we need to examine Rana, and make all efforts to collect evidence from Pakistan for which efforts are being made.

Will the testimonies by both Headley and Rana have any relevance in the
Indian courts?
If Headley and Rana give statements to Indian investigators within the ambit of the Criminal Procedure Code of India, we can use them in our proceedings. Proceedings in courts other than where the trial is held can be used during the trial if properly introduced. But the
proceedings in a foreign court, whether they can be used in India, needs to be seen. In principle, I see no objection, because a court is a court.

It appears that both these men will have to be tried in absentia in India. Does this have any meaning for us or is it just a routine procedure?
Trial in absentia is no option. We can, under law, record a statement of a witness in court even though an accused is absent. But, unless opportunity is given to the accused for cross examination, or the witness who gave the statement dies, such statements do not become evidence. In our system, the accused has to be present for the trial
to go ahead.

How do you see the ongoing case impacting the ISI which is at the centre of
this trial?
The ISI stands exposed. There will be demands, within and outside Pakistan to control the agency, and to establish civilian supremacy. The Americans should lead this effort.

Rana says that he was working for the ISI and not the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. How
do you think this helps his case?
Rana is using a tactic mostly suggested by his lawyer-that he was working on behalf of the state, and not of a terrorist organization. Beyond semantics no value.

Do you think there is any chance of India being able to extradite at least
Rana since he has not entered into a plea bargain as yet?
The Americans have the first shot at the trial and further legal action against both Rana and Headley. Rest is only academics.

Will the NIA be able to get direct access to Rana?
Whether NIA gets access depends on Rana; he can refuse under the US system, and there is nothing that the US can do. Headley agreed to meet us.

NIA has been seeking voice samples from Pakistan. Do you see that country
handing over the same?
As per reports, Pakistan has agreed to try to get the voice samples. But depends on the court procedures. If the person whose voice sample is required objects, then it can be a problem. Ideally, the ISI will be worried, for we will be able to fix at least some identities of
those who were operationally directing the Mumbai attacks. In view of
this, I am not very hopeful of getting the samples.

What are the practical problems before the NIA in this case since it
involves the cooperation of other countries as well?
NIA has a case against Rana and Headley, but we cannot get them in the foreseeable future. We need to investigate in Pakistan, but that is not in our control. These are our practical difficulties.

Not Iqbal, Mir is the key person for Pak

Sajid Mir. Photo courtesy: domain-b
Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal are very familiar names today. These names have cropped up over and over again and both these men are believed to be part of the Pakistani establishment. The Indian intelligence bureau and the National Investigating Agency in their own capacity have made several attempts to track down these men. While Indian agencies are sure that these are two men who are very crucial to the 26/11 trial, bring them to justice before any court in the world is something next to impossible and they will be convicted in absentia.

Comparing the roles played by both these men in this case, it is clear that for Pakistan, Mir is a more important person. Moreover Pakistan would try and guard this man since records of the CIA and the IB show this man to be a global terrorist.

Senior officials say that the presence of Major Iqbal is something that Pakistan will continue to deny. There are no records of this man and moreover he has always been within Pakistan and hence the police in the other parts of the world have not built up any dossier on him. What we know of Major Iqbal is through the testimony of Headley and also is based on intelligence gathering.

However that that is not the case of Sajid Mir. There are documents relating to this man and most of these are documented by the court. It is a known fact that there has been a lot of juggling on the part of Pakistan where Mir is concerned. At first Pakistan claimed that he had been arrested and then they said they had the wrong man and today they say the only Sajid Mir they know of is a Muslim cleric.

Sources say that these responses make it clear that they will go out of their way to guard him. The latest intelligence incepts on Mir go on to suggest that he is back in Pakistan. He was in Saudi Arabia and then Dubai for most part of the past two years. Today the heat on Mir is more than it used to be and hence he has been ordered to return.

Mir has loads of information on him and he also has access to the documents which Headley. Headley dealt with Mir on very close quarters and these were done as per the orders of the ISI. Mir during the 26/11 planning stages was given in charge of international terrorists. However Headley was not Mir’s first international assignment. He was once picked up in Dubai for plotting a major terror attack and also convicted by a French court in absentia. In addition to this there are voice samples of this man too.

With so much detailing about Mir, it is obvious that Pakistan will guard him the most. Major Iqbal will continue to remain a mystery figure since he is a direct part of the ISI. Mir, everyone had claimed was also an ISI official, but today it becomes clear that he was an operative of the Lashkar who was completely controlled by the ISI. Moreover Mir is a more important character for Pakistan since he has managed to set up a global network for the ISI and is a key personality when it comes to launching attacks.

Headley says in his testimony that he had met with Mir several times and had handed him with the list of all the targets scouted by him. Moreover all these places which were surveyed by Headley were handed over by Mir who himself had visited India as a cricket fan a couple of years back. Even during the interrogation of Headley by the NIA, he had confirmed that his association with Mir was close and he was the man who took the entire attack on his shoulders.

PM arrives in Tanzania

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on his arrival to Dar es Salam in Tanzania addressed the Indian community in which he said that his government is deeply committed to the welfare and prosperity of the Indian community in Tanzania. We have created a separate Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to look after the welfare of the Indian community overseas and to facilitate their participation in the socio-economic growth processes in India.
Dr Singh further added that the government has taken several initiatives such as establishment of the Overseas Indian Community Welfare Fund and the Overseas Indians Facilitation Centre. The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas has become an effective platform for reaching out to our overseas community.
Your achievements are a matter of pride for all Indians. I am confident that each one of you will serve as a bridge of friendship between India and Tanzania. One of the cornerstones of our interaction remains our shared culture and traditions. I hope the Indian Cultural Centre in Dar es Salaam, which has opened recently, will provide a platform for children, families and others to preserve and promote our cultural traditions.
I have just come from Ethiopia after attending the Second Africa India Forum Summit in Addis Ababa which concluded yesterday. I had extensive interactions with African leaders and found a fund of immense goodwill for India. The Summit has launched a new era of partnership between India and Africa in the true spirit of South-South cooperation. The decisions we have taken at the Summit cover the areas of training and capacity building, infrastructure development and trade and investment.
The fact that Indians and Indian origin communities like you are living and working in various parts of Africa and helping to create wealth and prosperity is extremely impressive and commendable. It shows how well Indian communities have assimilated into local communities in this continent and how much their contributions are respected. I would urge you to be good Tanzanian citizens, and continue to spread the high values which India is known for.
The Prime Minister would meet with President Kikwete and other leaders of Tanzania tomorrow which will be followed by the signing of the bilateral cooperation agreements.

Headley-Rana, getting the connection right

With the Tawwahur Rana trial on in full swing at a court in Chicago, the biggest challenge that would be before the National Investigating Agency is to nail the links between Rana and David Headley.

There is an absolute need to link the connection between the two of them in order to have a fool proof case, NIA sources said. We are studying the developments each day and we need to wait for the trial could get over before we question Rana by ourselves. The testimony of Headley and our own investigations have given us enough material to nail the connection between the two.

While the testimony by Headley at Chicago does confirm our doubts about the relations between the two, we would still need much more material to put out a water tight case. As pointed out earlier also, the details that are emerging are not new and we already have all that information with us. Yes, the Rana testimony will be something new since we have not yet interrogated him.

Putting out a water tight case for the NIA would mean that they will need a lot of help from their counterparts in the United States of America and hopefully from Pakistan. The first thrust would be to obtain material from the US and then seek information from Pakistan. However there have been several requests to Pakistan in the past and they have not given us the required material.

From both these countries, the NIA will first seek the voice samples. This is a very important aspect of the investigation since both these men reported to the same handlers and were part of the same module which carried out the ghastly attack. The voice samples would help the NIA establish the links between the two and this would become a very strong document in the court when the case gets underway in India. Apart from this the NIA has also been examining how both Headley and Rana coordinated with each other and corresponded with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the ISI. While dealing with this aspect of the case it would become important for us to get our hands on the transcripts, voice samples and also documents,

The FBI will play a crucial role in this and during the forthcoming talks with the US next month, India will make a pitch for enhanced cooperation in this case. Senior officials who are currently with the Prime Minister at Dar es salam too confirmed the same and said that the United States will have a crucial role to play since this case completely concerns India.

While the independent investigation by the NIA would be absolutely necessary following their interrogation of Rana, the testimony of both Headley and Rana will be of great value when the case is tried in India. The investigating agencies would rely on Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 which states, “provided that, when any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved.” This would essentially mean, according to legal experts that his testimony which has been done under plea bargain comes within the ambit of section 27 and is admissible in the court of law in India.

Moreover when the case is tried in India, it would have large ramifications too. His testimony speaks of the role played by the ISI, the majors in it and also members of the Lashkar. Considering the fact that section 27 would be in play this would mean all the names mentioned by Headley can be brought to trial as these names find a mention in the testimony.

Comprehensive response needed to combat piracy

India on Thursday made a strong pitch to the United Nations to take the lead in evolving a comprehensive response to the threat of international piracy in the Red Sea and off the coast of Somalia to ensure unhindered maritime trade. Simultaneously, the international community should continue with efforts to restore stability in Somalia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while addressing the joint session of the Ethiopian Parliament in Addis Ababa.
Dr Singh, who is the first-ever Indian prime minister to visit Ethiopia, said that India is ready to work with Ethiopia and other African countries in this regard.
The prime minister received a standing ovation from a packed Parliament as he entered with his wife Gursharan Kaur.
“International piracy in the Red Sea and off the coast of Somalia has become and organised industry. It is important that the United Nations takes a lead in developing a comprehensive and effective response to this threat. The international community too should continue with efforts to restore stability in Somalia,” he said.
“India is ready to work with Ethiopia and other African countries in this regard. We would like the Indian Ocean to remain a secure link between Asia and Africa,” said Dr Singh.
Hailing the role of Africa on the world stage, he said, “The world has changed and globalisation is a reality. Our people have rising expectations. Africa is responding to these challenges and discovering its rich potential and the world is reaching out to Africa”.
But talking about the problems faced by the emerging economies, Dr Singh said, “Prices of agricultural produce remain volatile and the problem is worsened by speculation. The G-20 countries have taken the initiative of supporting work on the regulation of commodity derivative markets”.
He added, “In this area, India and Ethiopia have vital interests and they should cooperate. The changing world order calls for changes in structures of global governance, whether these are financial institutions or international monetary systems”.
“These are issues that have to be tackled and resolved. India and Ethiopia should work together to address food security challenges and our farming communities should collaborate to usher in the second green revolution,” said the PM.
Striking a chord with the people of Ethiopia, the PM said that Abyssinia’s invasion by Italian forces in 1935 had deeply affected Jawaharlal Nehru, who had led the Indian nation in offering sympathy.
“Nehru had said that ‘we in India can do nothing to help our brethren in distress in Ethiopia for we are also victims of imperialism. We can at least send our sympathy in this hour of trial. We stand with then today in their sorrow and hope to stand together when better days come’,” the PM reminded the Ethiopian Parliament.
“I believe the better days Nehru spoke about have come,” Dr Singh said.
He had the Parliament in splits when he said the south Indian tradition of using fermented flour to make dosas is similar to the way Ethiopia’s national dish injera is made.
Pointing our further similarities between the two nations, he said the sight of women with their heads covered and men wearing turbans is common in Ethiopia as well as in Indian villages.
In his address, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that Ethiopia and India have enjoyed long standing cordial ties on the basis of mutual respect and benefits for the peoples of both countries.
He said the threads of historical, cultural and political relationship have forged the two countries together. “These two countries have stood together in many historic moments,” he added.

The Headley probe and testimony go hand in hand

The National Investigating Agency has in its possession a 119 page interrogation report of David Headley and going by the ongoing testimony it becomes clear that he has not been saying anything different from what he had said last year.

A source in the NIA says that the details that have been emerging at the moment are similar to the one which Headley had already told them. Although it reiterates our stand that the entire attack was controlled by the ISI, we would still wait more intently for the Rana testimony. What Headley has been telling the court will only strengthen our case. However as we already pointed out, the chargesheet will be filed only once we complete the interrogation of Rana which will only take place once this trial is completed.

The NIA says that it would be stupid to expect Headley to divulge any further details on the existing case. Moreover Headley was expected to stick to his earlier version as his plea bargain does not permit him to speak more than what he has already divulged.

For the NIA the on going testimony is nothing new and the 119 page report regarding Headley certain portions of which are being produced verbatim goes on to show that the testimony is exactly what Headley had said both to the |FBI as well as the NIA.

Following the November 2008 strike, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba set up a naval wing for future operations. “The wing is specifically created to carry out more sea-borne attacks against India. In future, expect more terror strikes from the sea. LeT’s naval wing is headed by Yakub and he has roped in Abdur Rehman from the Pakistan Navy to assist him. LeT has recruited a Pakistan Navy frogman to take care of sea-related operations.

Even before I could scout targets for the 26/11 attack, the LeT heads had selected men who would carry out the attacks. I was shown photographs of the ten attackers by my handler Sajid Majid. One of the 10 terrorists was part of the team, which attacked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s rally in Srinagar in 2004. I was also shown pictures of Ajmal Kasab and Abu Ismail, who attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. I was also introduced to Muzzamil who I was told was carried out the Chittisinghpura massacre and the attack on the Akshardham temple.
During my visit to India in March 2008 I carried out the recce of Chabad House at Nariman Point. I had first decided to give this place a skip, but my ISI handlers insisted that I should survey the place as it was one of the prime targets. I shot videos of Chabad House and other targets from my mobile phone and clicked pictures using my camera. I get the feeling that the 26/11 attack was planned by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence to shift the focus of the world from the Afghanistan issue. They also felt that there was a need to instill confidence in the cadres, who were getting demoralised and restless. A lot of them wanted to do Jihad and join the battle in Afghanistan.

The Lashkar subscribes to the Salahi faith of Islam and they believe that they should instill the rule of God. The Lashkar has been inclined towards the battle in Kashmir and over a period of time there was a debate amongst the cadres about joining the battle in Afghanistan. The ISI was very clear that it wanted to keep the issues of Kashmir and Afghanistan separate. This debate within the Lashkar was leading to a split and the ISI felt that it needed to stage an attack like 26/11 in order to keep the outfit together.

On Shiv Sena: The Lashkar has not stopped speaking about Bal Thackeray and during my meeting with Saeed, he had said that the chief of the Sena had damaged a Muslim nation. The Shiv Sena continues to be a big target for the Lashkar.

In 2008 I visited Pune and surveyed the German Bakery. I even handed out sketches and videos of the targets that I had videographed. It was then that I told Pasha that it would be better if we staged an attack on the National Defence Academy in Pune, which today is under the LeT’s radar. I said if we targetted the NDA we could kill more Indian soldiers than Pakistan managed to kill in all its wars with India. I have also exclusively surveyed targets for the ISI.
The ISI backs every project carried out by the Lashkar. During my meeting with Pasha he revealed that the ISI was behind the train blasts of 2006.

I started training with the Lashkar in 2003. Back then there was a lot of talk regarding the ban on the outfit. During a meeting with LeT founder Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, there were suggestions from other cadres that the ban should be challenged and they should take legal recourse. However, Sajid said that this would open a can of worms and give India the opportunity to provide proof against them.

I travelled to Maldives, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. I used to travel using my real name Dawood Gilani. It was only after I came to India I changed my name to David Headley as I had been instructed to do so.

During my stint for the 26/11 attack my handler Sajid was particular that I conduct a proper survey of the Taj Mahal Hotel. I was also told to videograph the Shiv Sena Bhavan. I had visited that place and even chatted with some of the security guards over there. I tried to get close to the Public Relations Officer of that organisation, named Rajaram.

I got close to Ilyas Kashmiri after the 26/11 attack. He belonged to the 313 brigade of the Al Qaeda. I also got in touch with Abdur Hashim aka Pasha who was a retired major of the Pakistan Army. Pasha was first asked to fight the Taliban, but he refused to do so and began training Lashkar men. I had even introduced Pasha to some of my contacts who used to deal in drugs. I had spoken about these contacts with Rahul Bhatt, but he did not know in what context I was talking about this. Pasha was an important man in the set-up and he had asked me to survey various targets in India. He has a lot of anti-India operations up his sleeve and he runs an army of fidayeens for this purpose.

Pasha had insisted that I join the Al Qaeda and I readily agreed. I conducted a survey of the National Defence College at his behest. I have also made videos of several targets in Delhi, Goa and Pune. All this material is with him and it could be used for future attacks.

We had also planned on attacking the Taj President, the Naval Air Station, the World Trade Centre, the Siddhi Vinayak Temple and the Bombay Stock Exchange. However these targets were later traded for the Chabad House. Pasha was aware of this change. In fact, he was thrilled when the plan changed.

When I was conducting a survey of the Taj Mahal Hotel, I came across a jewellery shop and planned on staging a robbery there. I had thought that this money could be used for the attack. My plan was well received initially, but then it fizzled out.

In addition to the job of conducting surveys, I was also told by my handlers to check if the SIM connections which were to be used by the 26/11 attackers would work in India. I did that at the Wagah border and told them that the connections were working fine. Around the same time, we held a discussion about dropping the attack on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

I suggested that there could be a number of Muslims among the commuters there and they could lose their lives. But my apprehensions were dismissed and I was told that the attack would be conducted during the Iftari and no Muslims would be out at that time.

After the 26/11 attack, I was told that both Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed were arrested in Pakistan. My handler Sajid told me there was nothing to worry about and we had recieved clearance to carry out another major attack on the Jamnagar oil refinery. Both Saeed and Lakhvi got preferential treatment in jail. Both were given home made food and their families were free to visit them anytime they wanted.

After this, I was told that I should not stay in touch with any of my handlers since there was a lot of pressure on them following this attack. I then moved on to the Denmark project which was being coordinated by Ilyas Kashmiri and Pasha. I even volunteered that I was ready to blow myself up for any such project. However, when this operation was being planned, I was arrested. However we were all pleased with the attack.

NIA sources say that looking at their own report and also the testimony they do not find any new leads in the case. However we would be able to take an appropriate decision once the Rana testimony is complete and we ourselves interrogate him.

Meanwhile this issue will be discussed on the Prime Minister’s return from Africa. Currently officials over here at Addis Ababa say that they are reviewing the situation and once they are back in New Delhi there would be a meeting of the MHA, NSA and also the NIA to take this matter forward.

India doesn’t want Pak to disintegrate

David Headley has only allayed our worst fears and whatever is being said at Chicago only confirms our suspicion, official sources travelling with the Prime Minister to Addis Ababa said. We had always maintained that terror outfits have been working closely with the ISI and the David Headley testimony only clarifies our stand.

There has been a sustained hate campaign against India in Pakistan and this testimony will give Pakistan a lot to answer and rest assured this time it is serious and cannot be brushed under the carpet, the official also said. We have been closely assessing the Headley issue and have taken note of it. Pakistan needs to come clean this time. They have to be answerable this time around since many names have come out this time.

With regard to the talks with Pakistan it is on two different aspects. We want to be and also have good neighbours. But it is also important that Pakistan is serious about combating terrorism emerging out of its soil. Pakistan needs to realise that hate campaigns against India is not helping it. The situation in Pakistan is very fragile and their stability is at stake. India really hopes that wisdom prevails and they wake up to the harsh reality. It would be necessary for them to act in their own interest as well and despite umpteen reminders the Pakistan soil continues to be used for launching attacks. When the next round of talks are held with Pakistan these issues will be taken up, the official also pointed out.

Despite all these issues with Pakistan we do not wish that the country disintegrates. We wish that Pakistan gets its act together and focuses on development. India really wishes that Pakistan becomes stable and this is in the interest of the stability in the region.

On the ongoing 26/11 trial in Pakistan, the official said that India is putting pressure on Pakistan on this aspect. Their investigation is incomplete and the pace is extremely slow and it looks as though it would take years to complete. The purpose of justice should not be defeated, the official also pointed out. On India’s most wanted error list, the official was non committal in his reply, but also pointed out that we have sent many lists and we hope that Pakistan takes them seriously.

The official also pointed out that during the forthcoming talks with the United States of America scheduled for July all bi lateral issues concerning US and India will be discussed. Issues pertaining to our neighbours will also be taken up, he also said.

The Kritika Biswas issue: India will take up this issue for sure. We had expressed our anguish when she had been arrested. We find it intriguing that on a mere complaint she was arrested. Moreover the student who confessed to the crime was just asked to join another school. Why was no real action taken against the actual culprit? It is extremely disturbing when an India is treated in such a ruthless manner. Look at the manner in which this case has been handled over there. This is nothing but double standards, the official also said.

The Addis Ababa declaration

The Addis Ababa Declaration which was adopted at the end of the second Africa-India Forum Summit called on all countries to ensure that acts of cross-border terrorism do not occur and that their territories are not made a base for terrorists.

Both India and Africa condemned piracy and terrorism in all forms and called for active prosecution of persons who subscribe to such heinous crimes. We unequivocally condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. An act of terrorism anywhere is a threat to the entire international community.

We recognise the need to further strengthen international cooperation to combat global terrorism and for compliance of all member states with all international terrorism conventions and related protocols and United Nations Security Council’s resolution on counter-terrorism, the declaration stated.

Further the declaration also called on all states to cooperate with each other in order to prosecute, render legal assistance, extradite with maters pertaining to international terrorism. On the issue of piracy which has becoming a major menace, the declaration condemned such acts. The leaders condemned kidnapping, hostage taking and demanding ransom and also the political concessions in such cases. We express serious concern at the increase in such incidents, the declaration said.

During the summit, India voiced serious concerns regarding the threats posed by the Somali pirates. Nearly 11 per cent of the sea farers are Indian nationals and some of them have been taken hostage too. There have been over 200 attacks, including about 70 successful hijackings and ransoms have been paid to the pirates for securing the release of hostages and ships. India took note of the African position on the condemnation of the payments of ransom to terror groups.

The declaration also states, “ we take note of the UN security council reseloutions of 1970 and 1973 on Libya and stress that efforts to implement them should be within the leter and spirit of those resolutions. We call for immediate cessation of hostilities in Libya and urge the parties in conflict to strive towards political solution through peaceful means.

In the declaration India supported Africa’s claims for permanent membership of the Security Council. On its part Africa backs India’s claim to a permanent seat with full rights in an expanded Security Council the declaration also read.