Mumbai: David Coleman Headley, one of the prime accused in the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, told a special Mumbai court on Thursday that Ishrat Jahan, the 19-year-old girl who was killed in an alleged ‘fake encounter’ in 2004, was affiliated to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
While deposing before the court via video link from an undisclosed spot in the United States, Headley said that there was a women’s wing in the LeT. Deposing before the court, Headley claimed that the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi told him about a botched up operation of Muzammil in India.
“The operation was about shooting the police at some naka. One woman LeT named Ishrat Jahan was involved. Muzammil Bhatt was the head of our group before Sajid Mir,” he told the court. He, however, denied the involvement of any woman suicide bomber in the LeT but later named Ishrat Jahan as an LeT operative.
Early on the morning of 15 June 2004, Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on the road leading to the Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The encounter was carried out allegedly by a team led by DIG D.G. Vanjara, who was later jailed for his alleged involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter.
The police alleged that Ishrat and her associates were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives involved in a plot to assassinate the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. Later, an investigation was launched into the allegations that Ishrat was killed in a fake encounter. After a long investigation, in 2009, an Ahmedabad Metropolitan court ruled that the encounter was staged.
The decision was challenged by the Gujarat State government, and taken to the High Court. On 3 July 2013, the CBI has filed its first chargesheet in an Ahmedabad court saying that the shooting was a staged encounter carried out in cold blood.