Mumbai: In the first case of deposition via video link from foreign land, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Monday told a court here about how Lashkar-e-Taiba had planned and executed the 26/11 attacks and the role played by ISI officials, involving him too.
Headley, an LeT operative who is currently serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, detailed the sequence of events leading up to the November 26, 2008 assault as he deposed before Special Judge GA Sanap for nearly five-and-a-half-hours.
He spoke about his training by LeT in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Abbottabad near Islamabad under the guidance of LeT founder "Hafiz Saeed sahab", whose picture he identified in the court, as also its commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and how he got in touch with three officers of Pakistan's ISI -- Major Ali and Major Iqbal and Major Abdul Rehman Pasha.
Headley told the court that he had changed his name from the original Dawood Gilani after instructions from the LeT commanders, including Lakhvi, and ISI officials to carry out recce in India for an attack, an "adventurous" task for him.
He also revealed that the 10 terrorists, who struck at various places in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 killing 166 people, had planned to carry out the attack twice earlier -- in September and October -- but they attempts failed. Once their boat hit a rock in the seas, because of which they lost all the arms and ammunition and had to go back to Pakistan.
"I used to treat India as my enemy. Hafiz Saeed and LeT operative Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi also saw India as their enemy," Headley told the Special Judge during his first deposition in an Indian court which began at 7 AM.
He also admitted during his examination in chief by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that he joined the ranks of LeT after getting "influenced and motivated" by the speeches of "Hafiz Saeed Sahab".
Headley, who described himself as a "true follower of LeT, said he took his first "course" with them in 2002 at Muzaffarabad and had also attended a 'leadership course' which was led by Saeed and Lakhvi.
He said he underwent 5-6 training courses in LeT camps for about two years. "Daura-e-sufa is a study course and is held in Muridke in Lahore while 'Daura-e-aam' is a preliminary military training course held in Muzaffarabad in 'Azad Kashmir' (PoK)," Headley said.
In 'Daura-e-Khas, which is a more advanced training, he was taught to handle weapons, arms, explosives and ammunition, the LeT operative said.
He said he was also given 'Daura-e-Ribat' training, an intelligence course in which setting up of safe houses and reconnaissance are taught. The center where it is taught is in Mansera, 40 miles from Abbottabad, a place in Pakistan where former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by the US.