Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley on Monday told a special court in Mumbai that he travelled to India seven times before the 26/11 attacks in 2008. He also admitted to the court that his handler, Sajid Mir, instructed in 2006 to travel to the United States of America, change his name from Daood Gilani and obtain a passport under that name.
Quizzed why he had traveled to India under a different name, Headley, who is deposing via video-link, replied: “Because I wanted to protect my cover.”
Seven of his eight visits were to Mumbai, and one to Delhi. A majority of the visits were from Pakistan. He visited India once after the attack, in March 2009.
Headley had also been instructed to set up an office in Mumbai and take “general videos” of the city.
He told the court that initially, he did not know the purpose of the videos, but that “he had a general idea.”
When asked why had not asked about his task in Mumbai, Headley said, “Because I am a true follower of the Lashkar-E-Toiba.”
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, has so far asked 54 questions to Headley, about his early education and upbringing.
Headley told the court that he was born in Washington D.C. but his parents shifted to Pakistan soon after and he competed his early education there before moving back to the USA at the age of 18.
He also admitted to applying to the Consul General of India in Chicago for an Indian visa and that with a few exceptions, he had falsified all personal information in the applications.
“Pretty much everything is incorrect,” he said.
Sayyed Zabiuddin Ansari, who is also being tried for the attacks, relieved his lawyer, senior counsel Mehmood Pracha.
Ansari told the court that Pracha had meet him in jail a few days ago and communicated that he could be present in court on Monday.