[India hopes to present evidence of official involvement in the attacks, in part to generate pressure on the Pakistani government to take action against the conspirators. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander with the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who is believed to have overseen the Mumbai attacks, has been free on bail in Pakistan since 2014.]
explosions during the 2008 terrorist attacks. Credit Arko Datta/Reuters
India has long sought to depose the man, David C. Headley, in hopes of establishing a direct link between the Pakistani government and the assaults in Mumbai, which left more than 163 people dead.
Mr. Headley gave the deposition via teleconference from an undisclosed location in the
, where he is serving a 35-year
sentence for his role in the attacks. The questioning, by Ujjwal Nikam, the
Indian public prosecutor, will continue in the coming days. United States
India hopes to present evidence of official involvement in the attacks, in part to generate pressure on the Pakistani government to take action against the conspirators. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander with the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who is believed to have overseen the Mumbai attacks, has been free on bail in Pakistan since 2014.
The group’s founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, lives openly in
, in northern Lahore , and moves freely throughout
the country, impervious to the $10 million reward offered by the Pakistan for information leading to his
arrest. United States
Mr. Headley, who identified his contacts at the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate of
, or ISI, as “Major Ali” and
“Major Iqbal,” has linked the terrorist plots to that agency before. He
previously told American prosecutors that Lashkar “operated under the umbrella
of the ISI” and that an agency official had offered in 2006 to pay him to carry
out reconnaissance trips to Pakistan before the attacks. He has
made similar statements to Indian investigators who have interviewed him in the
India . United States
A few revelations emerged from Mr. Headley’s questioning on Monday, part of a case against a Lashkar operative, Zabiuddin Ansari. One is that the 10 gunmen who paralyzed Mumbai starting on Nov. 26, 2008, had botched two previous attempts on the city, one in September and one in October, in one case swimming back to shore after their boat hit a rock and their arms and ammunition sank.
Mr. Headley also said that on the advice of his contact in Lashkar, he had changed his birth name, Daood Gilani, to a more American-sounding one so that he could more easily enter
. He visited India seven times before the
attacks, recording hours of video of the city for his handlers in India . Pakistan
Mr. Headley, 55, the son of a Pakistani poet and diplomat, Syed Saleem Gilani, and a
socialite, A. Serrill Headley,
carved out a byzantine double game for himself during the years after the Philadelphia Sept. 11 , 2001, attacks in the . Convicted of distributing
heroin in the United States, he made a deal with officials from the Drug
Enforcement Administration to travel to Pakistan in 2002 to gather information
on heroin trafficking. United States
He was swiftly picked up by the Pakistani authorities and decided to work with him.
In 2002, while he was still working as a D.E.A. informant, he began training with Lashkar. Three women — a girlfriend and two former wives of his — approached American officials over the course of several years, saying they suspected him of sympathizing with terrorist groups, but no action was taken.
Mr. Headley was arrested in 2009, when he was caught carrying plans for a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper. On the basis of his cooperation with investigators,
officials shielded him from the
death penalty at his trial in 2011 and reduced his life sentence to 35 years.
Counterterrorism officials have described him as “dangerously engaging,” and
they warned about the need to guard against “being sucked into his mind games.” United States
’ failure to act on warnings
about Mr. Headley has been, at times, a source of tension between United States and Washington . Mr. Headley’s appearance as a
witness “gives the New Delhi an opportunity to play the
observer role in what is a South Asian conversation about terrorism and
security,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a United States South Asia fellow at the New America