CHICAGO: The plotters of Mumbai wanted to make a Bollywood movie for launching aspiring actor Rahul Bhatt, son of film director Mahesh Bhatt, but dropped the plans because Lashkar-e-Toiba opposed it.
David Coleman Headley, co-accused in the on-going Rana trial, disclosed this in his testimony on the fourth day of his deposition before a court here during questioning by Rana’s attorney, Mr Patrick W Blegan.
Rana, a Pakistani Canadian, was not able to go ahead with his plans as it was against the ideals of LeT, which opposed such a move. Headley said Rahul wanted to break into movies but his father was not helping him. “So (I) befriended him so that they can get to bigger picture,” he said.
He said he introduced himself to Rahul as a former army ranger and he had started liking him. Headley said he had, in fact, told him not to go to South Mumbai on November 26, the day LeT sent 10 terrorists for a major terrorist attack which over the next three days killed more than 160 people.
Earlier, he said there was once a talk of bringing Rahul to the tribal areas of Pakistan for “sightseeing.” However, he said that the plan was not to kill or kidnap him. Headley agreed that making friendship with Rahul was against the basic surveillance and espionage teachings that he had received from LeT and ISI.
After two failed attempts to strike Mumbai in September and October 2008, the Pakistani handlers of the 26/11 accused David Headley began planning the attack on India’s financial capital “more closely than ever” in early November that year.
Testifying before a Chicago court on the fourth day of the trial of co-accused Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana Friday, Headley, 50, said the first planned attack was in September, then in October and it finally happened in November.
Sajid Mir, one of Headley’s Pakistani handlers, told him that the attack would occur on the 27th night of Ramadan (considered as the night of glory in Islamic calendar), which in 2008 would fall on September 29, according to documents presented to the court earlier. However, the plan had to be abandoned as the boat carrying the attackers got stuck on a rock and was destroyed, the court documents said.
“Sajid told Headley that everyone on board survived in part because they had life vests. Headley subsequently met with (Major Abdur Rehman) Pasha and told him about the failed attempt.
Pasha said that the failed attempt was a sign that God was not happy with Lashkar,” it said. Sajid told Headley that there would be a second attempt at the Mumbai attack in October 2008. Soon thereafter, Sajid told Headley that the second attempt also failed. The attackers on board the boat had spotted an Indian fishing vessel and attempted to open fire on it, but the vessel escaped. “Sajid said that the ‘boys’ were demoralised and sent back to a safe house in Karachi,” the court papers said.