Leopold Cafe,the popular watering hole and restaurant frequented by foreigners in South Mumbais Colaba area,was not among the original targets of Lashkar-e-Toiba bosses who planned the 26/11 terror attack.
The bar and restaurant on Colaba Causeway,where Lashkar gunmen killed 11 people and injured 28,was scouted and added to the list only as an afterthought by Pakistani-American Lashkar operative David Headley.
Headley told his FBI interrogators in Chicago that he was asked by his Pakistan-based bosses to survey and gather information about the Colaba police station across the road from Leopold,the nearby Maharashtra Police headquarters,the Jewish Nariman House down the road and the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Towers.
The FBI had shared this information with Indian agencies,sources told The Indian Express. According to the information that has been passed on recently,Headley has told interrogators that Leopold Cafe was not an original target for the 26/11 attack. He said that while walking down the road,video camera in hand,from Colaba police station towards the state police headquarters,for the first time he noticed a lot of foreigners and a large buzzing crowd at Leopold, the sources said.
Headley made five extended trips to Mumbai before the 26/11 attack in September 2006,February and September 2007,and April and July 2008 each time making videotapes of various targets. Before each trip,Lashkar members and associates allegedly instructed him to survey specific locations. Headley travelled to Pakistan after each trip to meet his handlers,report on the results of his surveillance and provide photos and videos.
Although he was asked to scout the Taj Hotel,Colaba police station and the state police headquarters on that stretch,Headley revealed that he took an impromptu decision to video-record Leopold and give the footage to his handlers, said the source.
On 26/11,gunmen Abu Shoaib and Abu Umer casually walked into Leopold Cafe and started spraying bullets from their AK-47 assault rifles and lobbing grenades. In the mayhem,11 people,including two foreign nationals,were killed. A total of 28 persons,including nine foreigners,were seriously injured.