26/11 Mumbai terror attacks: NIA makes fresh request for quizzing David Headley's Moroccan wife

Mumbai, Nov 30: NIA has sent a fresh request to Moroccan authorities for recording the statement of Faiza Outalha mainly pertaining to her knowledge about her estranged husband David Headley's association with Lashker-e-Toiba terror group, a move which is apparently aimed at unravelling the role of state actors in Pakistan in 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The development came after the Moroccan authorities, while executing a Letters Rogatory (LR) sent by the NIA in 2012 after many months, had sent a statement of Outalha recorded by the law enforcing agencies of that country.

David Headley

It, however, did not address many concerns of the NIA, which has registered a case in 2009 to probe the activities of Headley in India, official sources said.

According to the sources, the NIA sent a fresh request requesting the Moroccan authorities to allow a team of the NIA to question Outalha in person so that the role of two Pakistani army majors and Lashker terrorists Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is further ascertained.

The fresh request has been with a French Translation as the Government of Morocco had returned previous requests asking for a translation of the documents as per the rule of the requested country, they said. French is generally used by the Moroccan government for international diplomacy.

In the absence of any Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty between India and Morocco, the LR has been issued on the basis of "Assurance of Reciprocity", thereby promising the African country of all assistance in any legal cases in future.

Outalha had visited India twice and was used by Headley, a US national of Pakistani origin, while carrying out a reconnaissance mission at Hotel Taj Mahal in Mumbai where she was ostensibly on a visit.

As the US authorities are sitting on India's request for questioning Headley, who is at present undergoing a prison term of 35 years in Chicago, the NIA hopes that the statement of the Moroccan lady will help in completing the jigsaw about role of ISI officials, the sources said.

NIA, which was handed over the task to probe the activities of Headley, has already filed chargesheet against Headley, his Canadian-Pakistani born Tahawuur Rana, Saeed, Lakhvi and five others including two army majors believed to be working for Pakistan's ISI.

India has already secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against two Pakistan Army officials -- Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali -- believed to be working for ISI and were instrumental in training of Headley.

During her stay in Pakistan, Outalha had met Saeed and complained about Headley to him. She had also gone to the US embassy in Islamabad to complain about the America-born terrorist and his role in terror groups like LeT and Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, the sources said.

Outalha, who married 52-year-old Headley in February 2007 and divorced him a year later, had been able to give security agencies an insight into the personal life of Headley which included connections he had in Mumbai.

After marrying him again, she had flown to Mumbai from Karachi and the second time during which she has crossed over through Wagah border into India. She had come for the first time in 2007 and stayed with the terror suspect in Taj Mahal Hotel and later in Oberoi-Trident.

Both the luxury hotels were targeted by the terrorists during the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008. She had again come in May 2008 via Wagah and went straight to Manali, where she was on a holiday. She later toured some areas of Shimla including nearby Kufri, a popular tourist destination.


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