When David Coleman Headley, an accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, agreed to be an approver on the condition of being pardoned, at the time he appeared this week before a Mumbai court over video conferencing, the prosecution put forth three conditions before him. All the three conditions had to be agreed to, in order to be granted a pardon. The third and the most important condition was that David Headley would have to answer all the questions posed by the Special Public Prosecutor “fully and truly”. This means the Indian interrogators would be allowed to probe deeply into the conspiracy and gain detailed corroborations about a case which has largely been built on circumstantial evidence. This important condition is being termed as a “masterstroke by the prosecution”.
“The fact that David Coleman Headley has turned an approver is very significant. It is for the first time in India that a foreign national has turned an approver,” Special Public Prosecutor of the case Ujjwal Nikam told The Sunday Guardian. He said that the condition will help him question Headley about the details which he may not reveal otherwise.
The other two conditions are: Headley will have to give details about the involvement of other people in the 26/11 terror attack conspiracy. He will have to give thorough and true information about every minute detail of the conspiracy itself. With the help of these conditions, the Indian investigators and prosecutors hope to build a strong case about the involvement of the Pakistan army and ISI in mounting terror attacks in the country.
Headley has so far told investigators that Pakistan’s Army and ISI are involved in the conspiracy of 26/11. The Indian agencies have so far arrested Abu Jundal in the matter. He is alleged to have been giving instructions to the 10 terrorists who had landed in Mumbai in 2008 to mount attacks on several places. Everyone else except Ajmal Kasab was killed during the counter-operation by the Special Forces. Kasab was hanged in 2012 after he was convicted for waging war against the country and causing the deaths of hundreds of people.
David Headley was in India in the years 2007 and 2008 to conduct reconnaissance of various targets for the terror attacks. He has previously said that his trips were funded by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, which was handled by the Pakistani army. Headley has previously told interrogators that the LeT operatives had their handlers in the Pakistani army. He had also named his handlers.
He has so far said that he recognised Abu Jundal as the one who trained the 10 Pakistani terrorists at the terrorist camps. Abu Jundal, alias Zabiuddin Ansari, belongs to Marathwada’s Beed district. He is believed to have been trained in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Currently, he is undergoing his prison term. But 34 Pakistanis have been named in the 26/11 charge-sheet until now. None of them have been arrested. With Headley turning into an approver, the Indian agencies can at least hope to build a tight case against them.