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How Headley used Rahul as a 'cover' for his terror plots

November 19, 2009 16:10 IST
Vicky Nanjappa provides a glimpse of what Rahul Bhatt, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's son and a 'witness' in the case against David Headley, revealed during questioning.

The questioning of Rahul Bhatt, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's son, regarding his connection to American national and arrested Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Headley has revealed several interesting details.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau, who were part of the team that spoke to Rahul, told that according to Rahul's statements it appears Headley used the celebrity child as a cover for his activities.

The IB sources said Rahul mentioned he never followed clearly what Headley was trying to say each time he made a phone call. The Lashkar suspect used words like 'jannat', 'Allah,' baraf', 'Mickey Mouse' and 'maal in his telephone conversations.'

'I never understood what he was trying to say and I didn't suspect that there may have been something wrong,' Rahul told the investigators.

On several occasions, Rahul revealed that Headley had insisted he come along to both the Taj Mahal and Trident hotels. The IB sources feel that by taking along a celebrity's son to these hotels would have allayed suspicion about Headley's activities since the staff may have been familiar with Bhatt junior.

Rahul told the investigators that at no point did he suspect that Headley could have been into terror activities.

'He behaved normally with me and sought help. Although he kept insisting that he wanted to spend as much time as possible at the Taj and Trident, I never went with him,' Rahul pointed out. 'I never realised what he was up to and neither did he discuss any of those plans with me.'

Another interesting point Rahul made is that Headley often spoken about Gregory David Roberts's popular book on Mumbai, Shantaram. He said he was a big fan of Roberts' and was extremely keen on visiting all the places mentioned in the book.

Headley, Rahul said, was on the phone most of the time. 'I thought he was talking business,' Bhatt added.

Rahul came into contact with Headley through Vilas Warak, the American's gym instructor in Mumbai. Once that contact was made, Headley ignored Warak, the sources said.

"We are going to question the actors who were also seen with Headley and get their version so that we have a water tight case," the sources said.

Meanwhile, investgators believe 'Mickey Mouse' could be code for sleeper cells.

Baraf, which means ice in Urdu, could have meant that all was well.

The targets (Taj and Trident) may have been jannat, which means 'heaven' in Urdu.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru