On the concluding day of his deposition, David Coleman Headley admitted to conducting video-surveillance of the home of the Indian Vice-President in New Delhi and the headquarters of the Indian Army.
“I did carry out surveillance of Sena Bhavan, National Defence College, the house of the Vice-President and the route between the buildings. I videographed that house and many other houses,” he said.
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Headley gave differing versions of the role of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)’s women’s cell at the end of his testimony. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had moved a request to re-examine Headley on two points after a five-hour cross-examination by the defence.
The request came after lead defence advocate Abdul Wahab Khan had asked Headley on two separate days whether he was aware of a women’s wing in the LeT. Headley had said Khan pre-supposed that he had knowledge of its existence, before repeating what he had told Nikam last month — that he had heard of its existence, that it was headed by the mother of militant Abu Ayman, but that he had no first-hand knowledge of it.
“You told me during my examination that there is a women’s wing in the LeT but, in the cross-examination, you said the defence pre-supposed you had knowledge of LeT’s women’s wing. Why did you say that?” Nikam asked.
Headley replied, “When I was answering Wahab I meant I had no direct knowledge of the women’s wing that takes care of combat and fighting and, in the direct examination, I meant there is a women’s cell that takes care of social matters.”
Khan, whose cross-examination had been brought to an end a few minutes before in an unexpected fashion, then got Judge G A Sanap’s permission to pose a last follow-up query: “You said that the women’s cell is not for combat but social purpose. What is this social purpose?”
Headley said, “It takes care of women’s issues like religious education, taking care of widows, Quran classes etc.”
In the morning, continuing its effort to discredit Headley, Khan had asked whether the 26/11 attacks were orchestrated to avenge the bombing of a school by an Indian plane during the 1971 war. “Yes, that was one of the events for which I got revenge,” Headley responded.
The defence pursued its attack on Headley and asked if he had visited the home of former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Headley replied that he had, and admitted to speaking to guards posted at the perimeter gate of the house. “Did Hafiz Saeed tell you that Balasaheb Thackeray needed to be taught a lesson?” Khan inquired. “Yes?” was the reply.
Judge Sanap was severe in his criticism of Khan for his malafide intention to drag proceedings even as, “the circumstances in which the court is functioning are not ordinary circumstances.” Soon the judge announced, “Mr Headley, you are discharged.”