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David Coleman Headley donated money to Lashkar-e-Taiba

23-Mar-2016, 14:57:15, :

David Coleman Headley, the accused turned approver in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case, on Wednesday said that until 2006, he had donated between Rs 60-70 lakh to the Pakistan-based terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

He made this revelation on the first day of his cross-examination as a witness in the case before special judge GA Sanap. The cross examination will continue on Thursday morning.

In February, in proceedings that lasted for five days, Headley, 55, deposed via video conference from an undisclosed location in the US, where he is currently serving a 35 year sentence for his role in the Mumbai attacks.

On Wednesday, from 8am to 12.45pm, he was cross-examined by advocate Wahab Khan who is appearing for Abu Jundal, the alleged handler of the 10 terrorists who attacked the city on November 26, 2008. Jundal is the sole accused on trial in the case. His name however did not crop up anywhere during Headley's deposition last month. Dressed in a grey jumper and sipping coffee, he was flanked his defence advocate and the district attorney.

The former LeT operative's answers were in response to questions posed by defence Khan who asked him if he had received money from the Pakistan-based terror outfit. Khan also asked him if he had used his earnings from the LeT to make investments in the UAE and Pakistan. Headley had purchased a few shops in the Arab country.

After answering in the negative a few times, when Khan repeated the question, a livid Headley snapped at him and said, "That's absolute nonsense. If you don't understand in English should I explain it to you in Urdu?"

When Khan objected to the use of the word "nonsense", special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam promptly said that the defence had only asked the question repeatedly with an intention to irritate Headley and was hammering him. Even as Khan broke into a smile, Headley said, "The point is not that I am irritated. The life of your client relies in this case. This is not a joke and you should be serious about it." As the judge directed Headley to be polite with his answers, he retorted, "I am polite everytime your honour. But when he doesn't understand, I have to make him understand in a language he gets."

The court once again cautioned Headley not to lose patience and said that if he had any problems, he could convey the same to the court and it would take care of it.

When the defence asked him if the money donated was in dollars, euros or pounds, Headley said, "The only one you did not mention — rupees." When asked if it was Indian rupees, he snapped, "Why would i give them Indian rupees. It was Pakistani rupees." He further said that he had no knowledge if the donation amount procured from his businesses in New York and properties bought and sold Pakistan was used in the Mumbai attacks.

"That is impossible as the last time I gave them money was in 2006," he said.

He denied that the money was part of his earnings received from drug trafficking, for which he was jailed twice in the US, first in 1988 and a decade later in 1998. He however admitted that despite being convicted in 1988 and partaking in plea deals, he had continued in the drug trade from 1992 to 1998. During this time, he said he has visited Pakistan to further his drug business where he stayed for a month. He had also visited the country on another occasion after his arrest in 1997 at the behest of the Drugs Enforcement Authority (DEA) who had funded the trip.

Answering Khan's question, Headley further said that he was not sure if the US officials knew about his donations to the LeT.

Earlier in the proceedings, Headley refused to answer questions on his wife Shazia Gilani. A persistent Khan asked him a range of questions from the name of her father, her current location to if she was happy that he had joined the LeT. "I will not answer any questions about my wife. Her reaction to me is a personal matter between us. I have expressed this before and I hope you understand this clearly," Headley said.

PTI

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