David Headley, accused-turned-approver in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, refused to answer questions about his wife Shazia Gilani while he was being cross-examined via videoconference in a Mumbai court on Wednesday. The cross-examination was led by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, a prime accused in the attacks. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and Mumbai Crime Branch chief Atul Kulkarni were also present.
The law of "privileged communication" under the Indian Evidence Act protects conversations between spouses, Nikam said. The court has asked for more citations of law before it decides whether Jundal's lawyer can question Headley about his wife and how she reacted to finding out he was involved with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Headley also revealed that Tahawwur Rana, his associate and a Pakistani native who operated an immigration business in Chicago, knew he was an LeT operative and disapproved of the fact, PTI reported.
Moreover, he said he had donated between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 70 lakh to LeT till 2006. He made this claim after defence advocate Abdul Wahab Khan asked him whether he had bought shops in the United Arab Emirates from the money he received from the terror outfit. Headley further revealed that the United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency had instructed him to visit Pakistan after it arrested him and had sponsored his trip as well, The Hindu reported.
Headley was deposed over several days earlier in March. He described how he had been entrusted with reconnaissance operations in the city before the attacks, and had surveyed areas such as the Siddhivinayak temple.
He also revealed that Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old who was killed in an operation with the Gujarat Police in 2004, was an LeT operative. This revelation had a major impact as Jahan’s death has been the subject of a major political tussle in the country. The Congress-led government at the Centre at the time had derided the killing as a fake encounter, though the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Gujarat government had said Jahan was a terrorist attempting to kill then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.