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Who were the women with Headley?

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: November 20, 2009 19:28 IST
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When Ajmal Kasab and his accomplice Ismail Khan opened fire at the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Cama Hospital in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008, a couple of eyewitnesses claimed that a woman, who spoke Marathi, had guided the terrorists.

Investigating agencies had later denied this possibility and stated that Kasab and the other nine terrorists had no local help.

The investigation, currently being conducted by the National Investigation Agency, has highlighted the possibility that David Headley -- the American citizen arrested last month in Chicago by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on terror charges -- may have involved a couple of women in his plans.

Sources told that Headley, during his eight visits to India, was often seen in the company of women as he travelled across the country. The Intelligence Bureau says they have information that at least a couple of these women were aware of his plans.

Among the several women Headley was seen with, the IB sources say two in particular could have guided Kasab and Khan on that horrific night.

Investigators say the initial part of the attacks was extremely crucial for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba since it gave the other terrorists time to gather undetected at their respective targets.

Once the murderous mayhem at the CST commenced, the terrorists's Pakistan-based handlers directed the other killers over satellite phones, the records of which are with the Mumbai police.

Sources point out that Headley was cautious about his movements. He was either seen with well-known people or with women. The Pakistan-born American knew that celebrities and women would act as appropriate cover for his activities.

NIA agents, who have visited hotels that Headley stayed in, have confirmation that Headley was often seen with women. The agency has collected information on the appearance of these women and are in the process of identifying them.

Sources said Headley also contacted escort services in India; one such location in Mumbai has provided investigators with information.
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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru