- David Headley: Ishrat Jehan was a member of terror group Lashkar e Taiba
- Ishrat Jehan was killed in an encounter by Gujarat police in 2004
- The CBI had claimed that Jehan, 3 others were killed in a fake encounter
Headley, who is testifying on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack from an undisclosed location in the US via video link, picked Ishrat's name when the prosecutor questioning him gave him "options" of female suicide bombers in the Lashkar.
Asked about a "botched up operation in India", Headley said he had learnt about such an operation from a conversation between Lashkar commander Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi and the outfit's military chief Muzammil Bhat.
"Later I asked Muzammil and he said there was a female member of the LeT who was killed in a police shootout at a naka (picket). The exact place I cannot recall," Headley said. He has named Ishrat before, but for the first time in court.
Ishrat, who was from Mumbra in Mumbai, was shot dead along with three men in Gujarat in 2004 by police officers who claimed that they were terrorists involved in a plot to kill Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister.
The killing triggered a political debate over whether Ishrat Jehan was a terrorist or an innocent college student killed in cold blood.
The Congress and other opposition parties allege that Ishrat was innocent. The Congress-led UPA government was embarrassed when in 2009, it was revealed that a home ministry report to a court said Ishrat and her friends were Lashkar members.
The BJP accused the Congress of misusing investigative agencies to link Narendra Modi and his then home minister Amit Shah to the Ishrat Jehan killing and other controversial encounters in the run-up to the 2014 national elections.
"After Headley's revelations it is clear that it was not a fake encounter. She was even called the 'daughter of Bihar'. The ministers who had then complained should take back their statements," said BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain.
Seven officers of the Gujarat police accused in the case are out on bail.
The CBI has also accused Intelligence Bureau officers of a role in the killing. The Intelligence Bureau has said that though its officers had alerted the Gujarat police to the possibility that Ishrat and the others could be affiliated to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, its officers did not authorize or participate in the killing.
Q&A IN COURT WITH DAVID HEADLEY ON ISHRAT JEHAN
Q: There is a women's wing in the LeT?
Q: Who is the head?
A: The mother of Abu Aiman.
Q: Are there female suicide bombers in LeT?
A: No I don't know.
Q: Can you name a suicide bomber?
A: I cannot name.
Q: Was there a botched up operation in India?
A: There was a botched-up operation which I learnt while Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi was talking to Muzammil Bhat.
A: Later I asked Muzammil and he told there was a female member of the LET who was killed in a police shootout at a Naka (picket). Exact place I cannot recall.
Q: I gave you three options. Noor Begum. Ishrat Jehan and ...
A: Ishrat Jehan