This Article is From Jul 05, 2013

Ishrat was suicide bomber, said David Headley: Intelligence Bureau's letter in February

When officers of India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) were allowed to interrogate David Coleman Headley in a jail in Chicago in 2010, the Pakistani-American allegedly told them that Ishrat Jahan, a college student shot dead by the Gujarat Police in 2004, had terrorist links.

In February this year, the Intelligence Bureau wrote to the CBI, which is investigating the killings of Ishrat and the others, with this input -that Mr Headley had told the FBI that Ishrat was a "female suicide bomber."

But in its first chargesheet filed in the case this week, the CBI did not touch upon whether the group of four that were shot dead "in cold blood" by the Gujarat Police and the state's Intelligence Bureau had terror links. This omission, the BJP says, proves that the government is withholding crucial facts, in an attempt to discredit the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his administration.

Mr Headley has confessed to his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed in 2008. He has admitted that he videotaped the landmarks that would be targeted on behalf of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In a report more than 100 pages  based on the questioning of Mr Headley over seven days,  Indian investigators say he disclosed that  a senior Lashkar commander named Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had told him in 2005 of a terror operation that had failed a few years ago in India- Ishrat Jahan and those assigned with her had died.

This information was in the interrogation report of  Mr Headley that was given  to the Intelligence Bureau. The document was also made available to the media. But in the latter, the two paras that refer to Ishrat Jahan are missing. National Investigation Agency sources have told NDTV that Headley's comments are not legally admissible in any case other than 26/11 and his account is based on second hand information; so should be treated as 'hearsay'.

The Intelligence Bureau disagrees. It says it had inputs that the Mumbai teen and her associates were a terror unit, and in 2004, it was this information that the Gujarat branch of the Intelligence Bureau shared with the police.

The cops who killed Ishrat and three others - 70 rounds were fired- said they had been alerted that the group was planning to assassinate Mr Modi on behalf of the Lashkar.

NDTV has learnt that in March 2010, the FBI had independently warned India's Intelligence Bureau that in his questioning by US investigators, Mr Headley had said that Ishrat and her associates were planning terror strikes on Gujarat temples including the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.