On the last day of his examination by the prosecution in a special court in Mumbai, 26/11 scout David Coleman Headley said that Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi’s son Basi had been killed “in a firefight with the Indian Army in Kashmir. Sajid Mir, Headley’s handler, then assumed the nickname Basi “in memory of Zaki’s son”, Headley deposed via video from the US Saturday. He said the news of Basi’s death and Mir’s move was emailed to him by former Pakistan Army major and Al-Qaeda militant Abdur Rehman Pasha.
He told the prosecution that when Pakistan cracked down on LeT under international pressure following the 26/11 attacks, Mir had assured him this was only superficial action.
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Headley said he and Mir exchanged a series of emails about “old uncle” (LeT chief Hafeez Saeed) and “chhota uncle” Lakhvi; Lakhvi was also “chacha” in one of their emails. He said Mir assured him, “Everything happening to our friends is superficial,” and “Uncle (Saeed) is flying high.”
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In another email, Headley expressed fears that “old uncle has got H1 virus and doctors at the hospital want to give him a check up”. This, Headley explained to the court, meant that Saeed was likely to be arrested by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency.
Mir replied, “My old uncle is fit, healthy like anything and moving back and forth like a tornado” but, Headley said, Mir added that “Chacha revealed some facts about Ismail on pressure.” Ismail was Mir’s codename for Headley.
Made to listen to recordings of two phone calls, Headley identified the voices of three militants who were speaking to the Mumbai attackers. From the first call, from a control room in Pakistan to attackers in Taj Mahal Hotel, Headley identified Mir as saying in Punjabi, “How is your leg brother?” One of the ten attackers replied, “My leg is bleeding profusely.” From the other recording, played twice, Headley told the court he could make out the voice of Abu Kahafa among three to four voices in a long conversation.
Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam closed his deposition. Headley will be cross-examined by the defence next, for which a date has not been set.
When it was the turn of the defence, advocate Wahab Khan conveyed to Judge G A Sanap that he was unable to begin cross-examining Headley as the prosecution had not provided him with several documents. “I am not mentally prepared to cross-examine today. Perhaps I may damage my case or damage their case,” Khan said.
The court has granted time to Khan until February 22 to study the documents and decided how many days his cross-examination will require. The dates will then be communicated to the United States Department of Justice.