ISI eyed BARC staff, thwarted strike on temple: Headley
Mumbai: Exposing plans to subvert the Indian nuclear establishment, Pakistani-American terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley on Friday said that the ISI eyed staff of the sensitive Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai to procure “classified information” from them.
Headley also claimed to have discouraged the terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (to which he belongs), and the ISI from striking at the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Dadar and the naval air station in the city.
Continuing his deposition via videoconference before Special TADA Court Judge G.A. Sanap, Headley told special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that he carried out surveillance and also videographed the BARC headquarters in Mumbai.
“The Inter Services Intelligence wanted to recruit the BARC staffers for future; get classified information from them,” Headley, 56, said while speaking for the fifth consecutive day from a US jail where he is undergoing a 35-year sentence.
He had handed over the BARC surveillance videos to his main contact in LeT Sajid Mir and ISI’s Major Iqbal and also videographed the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Dadar and the naval air station.
Outside the temple, he bought a bunch of red and yellow-coloured sacred thread and sent them to Sajid Mir so the terrorists could tie them around their wrists and pass off as Hindus and avoid detection.
Headley claimed to have discussed the issue with his LeT handlers and ISI, and discouraged them from targeting the temple and naval airforce station as they were very heavily guarded sites.
Earlier, he spoke of his visit to the Nalanda bookshop in Hotel Taj Mahal Palace where he lived and bought some books, including one on the Indian Army.
“The other books were mostly pictorial and there was nothing sinister about them,” Headley said.
At this, Special Judge Sanap enquired whether there was anything “sinister” (motives) about the army book, Headley replied in the affirmative.
To another question by Nikam, Headley said the Nariman House was targeted by LeT as it was an international location where Israelis and Jews were living.