New Delhi, Nov 25: This year the big news on the 26/11 front was the deposition made by David Headley before a Mumbai court through video conferencing.
Although there was nothing new in what Headley said, he did hit the headlines by speaking about the very controversial Isharat Jahan case.
Ishrat Jahan was killed in an encounter along with Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani in Gujarat. When Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat he had come under severe criticism from the opposition which called the encounter fake.
What Headley said on Ishrat Jahan:
Headley said through video conferencing that the operation was about a shoot out at police at some check naka- One woman of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba Ishrat Jahan was involved- There was a women's wing in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba- Headley first said that no suicide bomber of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was involved.
But he went on to state later that Ishrat was involved in an operation involving a shoot out on police at a naka.
The Ishrat Jahan encounter had become a major issue with allegations flying around against those who had carried it out. Headley who was first questioned by the FBI had spoken about her. When a team of the NIA questioned Headley he had spoken about it again.
When he spoke with the FBI and the NIA he had said Ishrat Jahan, a Mumbai girl killed in a police encounter in Ahmedabad, was a suicide bomber of the outfit. This information was shared by Headley with a four member team of the NIA.
While this was made clear by Headley, the angle was never probed and the official reason that was given to us was that he was basing his statements on hearsay. At that time the Home Ministry had said that this never figured in the probe. Our probe was restricted to 26/11 and this statement by Headley was based on hearsay, the government had said.
The Intelligence Bureau which was being blamed by the then government of providing false information on Ishrat said that there is no doubt that Headley was well aware of who Ishrat Jahan was.
When everyone sought answers, it is quite surprising that the NIA did not chose to push the questioning on this angle further despite Headley knowing a lot about her and the case.