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Headley's local links were unaware of his plans

Last updated on: December 14, 2009 13:55 IST
Indian investigators probing the links of arrested American national and Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Coleman Headley into the Mumbai 26/11 attacks have not stumbled upon any information regarding his local contacts while he was in India.

While they have confirmation that he was very much in India and carried out reccees of various targets which were attacked on November 26 2008, they say that he worked by himself and was in touch with several Indians -- only to use them as a cover.

Sources told rediff.com that this was a deliberate ploy on part of the LeT to ensure that no one got a wind of Headley's operations in India. It was important for them to ensure that no one knew of the fact that an American national was working in India to lay the ground for a terror attack.

While he was in touch with several high profile personalities, investigations have revealed that he had not taken the help of any one of these persons to carry out his activities.

Headley was secretive to the extent that he did not even get in touch with any of the local terror modules or cells and seek their help, a top official told rediff.com.

All his phone call records would indicate that he stayed in touch with his handlers in Pakistan, and there is no conversation to indicate that he had discussed any of his terror plans with Indians while in India.

His conversations -- that have been intercepted -- show that he stayed largely in touch with his primary handler Sajid Mir and also a retired Pakistan major by the name Abdul Hashim Syed.

While he stayed in touch with Mir regarding the Mumbai attack, he dealt largely with Syed regarding his operations in Europe and the establishment of a global jihad.

Investigators say that he did get in touch with outfits such as the Indian Mujahideen, but never discussed the Mumbai attack. None of the operatives even had a clue as to Headley's plans for the attack on Mumbai.

Investigators who have done thorough checks with his contacts in Tardeo in Mumbai, where he set an immigration office, say that none of them had even the slightest of inclination as to what he was up to.

Intelligence Bureau sleuths say that the information that has been handed over to them by the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not point to any of Headley's local contacts in India. There is absolutely no indication that he had shared information with any local link in India.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru