26/11: NIA files charge sheet against Headley
The 60-page charge sheet, filed by National Investigation Agency(NIA) on Saturday before a special court in New Delhi, details reconnaissance activities carried out by 50-year-old Headley of the targets attacked by Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) terrorists on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Mumbai Crime Branch had accused Ansari and Sabbauddin of providing details of the targets attacked by the LeT during 60 hour gun battle and had to face embarrassment twice when the trial court and the Bombay High Court acquitted the two saying there was no evidence against the two.
Former Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hasan Gafoor and the then in-charge of the Crime Branch, Rakesh Maria, who is at present head of Anti Terror Squad, had repeatedly claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had carried out reconnaissance of various targets attacked by Lashkar terrorists on November 26, 2008.
In its revision petition, the Crime Branch had again claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had played a role in providing details to to the Pakistan-based terror outfit about the targets attacked by terrorists on November 26.
The NIA has given details about how every target attacked by LeT terrorists was scouted by Headley, who is at present in a Chicago jail.
The investigation agency has gone into the role of Headley and eight others including founder of Lashker Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of 26/11 Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and two serving Pakistani Army officials.
But it has not mentioned a word about Ansari or Ahmed or the claims of Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal D Nikam, who said the 10 LeT terrorists entered the country`s financial capital with the help of hand-written maps drawn by Ansari.
The statement of Headley, who was recruited by Lashker, to the US authorities and NIA before a magistrate, which forms as one of the annexures of the charge sheet, talks about his role in carrying out the survey of the locations attacked by the terrorists on 26/11. This had left Mumbai Police red-faced and punctured their theory of criminal conspiracy involving only Ansari and Ahmed.
The claims by Nikam about terrorist entering into Mumbai with the help of hand written map provided by Ansari was rejected by the trial court, saying better maps were available on Google and that the hand-written map, recovered from one of the killed terrorists, was fresh and had no wrinkles on it.
The division bench of Bombay High Court comprising justices Ranjana Desai and R V More while dismissing the plea of state government earlier this year had said "we are of the view that the view taken by learned Sessions Judge so far as involvement of the duo in this case is concerned, cannot be called unreasonable, palpably false, manifestly erroneous and demonstratively unsustainable which merits our interference."
The High court concurred with the view taken by Sessions Judge that the map recovered from killed terrorist pocket should have some wrinkles on it and blood spots as the LeT terrorist was badly injured in the gun-fight.