Before we go into the new statement that David Headley has made via video link regarding Ishrat Jahaan, let’s go back to his old testimony vis-a-vis Ishrat Jahaan that he had purportedly made to the four member NIA team who had interrogated him about five years ago. (Link to PDF copy of the interrogation report at the bottom of the post)
This is what David Headley had allegedly said in his interrogation to NIA vis-a-vis Ishrat Jahaan five years back in para 168-169 of the NIA report. These paras were alleged to be dropped.
168. On being asked about Ishrat Jahaan, I (Headley) state that in late 2005 Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi introduced Muzzammil to me. Having introduced Muzzammil, Zaki talked about the accomplishments of Muzzammil as a Lashkar commander. Zaki also sarcastically mentioned that Muzzammil was a top commander whose every big ‘project’ had ended in a failure. Zaki added that Ishrat Jahaan module was also one of the Muzzammil’s botched up operations.”
169. Headley stated that apart from this he had no other information/knowledge about Ishrat Jahaan
From the above two paragraphs, it can be concluded that Headley was FIRST INTRODUCED to Muzammil Butt in late 2005 by Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi and that is when Lakhvi told him about the ‘botched-up’ operation.
However, paras 17 & 28 of the interrogation report completely contradict this claim wherein he claims that he met Muzzammil Butt in the year 2002 and multiple times after that in 2004 and more.
17. In the year 2002 . I met Muzzammil Butt, a kashmiri in Muzaffarabad . Abu Dujana introduced me to Muzzammil. Muzzammil and Abu Dujana had stayed together in Kashmir. Muzzammil is very important operative of LeT. He was Involved in a series of attacks on Indian security forces when he was in Kashmir. I recollect that once Muzzammil had told me how he had goneand killed civilians in a village in South Kashmir before the visit of the then US president . Bill Clinton to India. After coming to Muzaffarabad, he was initially given the charge of the India operations.
28. Post Training Activities in Pakistan: On and around August 2004, I met Zaki and requested him to change my handler as I was not comfortable with yaqoob. Zaki then handed me over to Muzzammil, Abdur Rehamn was also working in Muzzammil’s set up.
Thus his statement regarding having been ‘introduced’ to Muzzammil Butt in 2005, which is when he found out about Ishrat Jahaan, is completely inconsistent with his other claims of having met Muzzammil Butt in 2002 and Muzzammil becoming Headley’s handler in 2004.
Now let us look at the fresh statement that Headley has made in his interrogation to Ujjwal Nikam, 2016 Padma Award recipient. (Copying from NDTV)
Q&A IN COURT WITH DAVID HEADLEY ON ISHRAT JEHAN
Q: There is a women’s wing in the LeT?
Q: Who is the head?
A: The mother of Abu Aiman.
Q: Are there female suicide bombers in LeT?
A: No I don’t know.
Q: Can you name a suicide bomber?
A: I cannot name.
Q: Was there a botched up operation in India?
A: There was a botched-up operation which I learnt while Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi was talking to Muzammil Bhat.
A: Later I asked Muzammil and he told there was a female member of the LET who was killed in a police shootout at a Naka (picket). Exact place I cannot recall.
Q: I gave you three options. Noor Begum. Ishrat Jehan and …
A: Ishrat Jahan
Firstly, it can be clearly seen that Headley is being desperately goaded on by Ujjwal Nikam to name Ishrat. Moreover, in his earlier interrogation, Headley clearly said that Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi told him FIRST HAND about Muzammil’s botched up operation, here he claims that he heard (overheard) Zaki and Muzzammil talking about it thus contradicting his earlier claim. Here’s his earlier statement.
Zaki also sarcastically mentioned that Muzzammil was a top commander whose every big ‘project’ had ended in a failure. Zaki added that Ishrat Jahaan module was also one of the Muzzammil’s botched up operations.
Moreover, in his earlier deposition in para 169, he had said that he had no more details about the operation while now he claims that he spoke to Muzammil later who told him about a police shootout at a Naka.
Thus it can be clearly seen that Headley is regurgitating the same flawed, inconsistent statement that he was fed before, just with more inconsistencies this time around.
The question that needs to be asked is what have those who were called Kali Dadhi and Safed Dadhi in the Ishrat Chargesheet offered to Headley? What sort of agreement has been made in return of this fictional allegation against Ishrat? Is this why David Headley was pardoned in December 2015?
Complete Headley interrogation report: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/1602.pdf