M A I N   N E W S

Headley trail takes NIA to Pushkar
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, December 3
A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) is in the holy town of Pushkar to investigate whether the Pakistan-born suspected terrorist David Coleman Headley stayed there after Mumbai terror attacks last year.

During his interrogation by the FBI, Headley has reportedly admitted that he had stayed in Pushkar after 26/11. According to sources, the NIA team has searched various hotels in Pushkar, especially the ones preferred by Israeli tourists, and took possession of guest records over the last couple of days. The team has purportedly got some vital clues and has identified some hotels where Headley had stayed as a tourist.

The investigators are showing various sketches of Headley to hotel staff and are trying to zero in on his local contacts, besides seeking information about his eating habits and friends, if any, in the town.

They are also tracing the call details of the hotels during the period when Headley stayed in Pushkar. The NIA hopes to unearth the local contacts of Laskhar-e-Toiba in this part of the country during the investigation.

Though Ajmer SP Hari Prasad Sharma didn’t divulge the details, he confirmed that the NIA investigators are probing into the matter.

Even as the NIA probe is yet to ascertain the exact duration of Headley’s stay in Pushkar, reports in local media say Headley was there for as many as 40 days to keep an eye on the situation post26/11. According to these reports, Headley, during his stay, had interacted with Israeli tourists and had also tried to adopt their lifestyle.

Notably, the holy town is a hotspot for Israeli tourists, which is evident from the fact that locals interact with them in Hebrew. The town also has a Chabad House, a rest house for Israeli tourists, near the local bus stand.

Incidentally, a hotel situated near the bus stand is under NIA scanner as it is being said that Headley spent a few days there during his visit to Pushkar.

Israelis were targeted during the Mumbai terror attack when terrorists stormed into Nariman House and killed a Rabbi and his wife after holding them hostage for hours.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Ajmer, additional SP, CID, Jagdish Bairwa, revealed that Headley had stayed in Pushkar for three days,- March 11-13, and not 40 as being reported in a section of media. According to him, Headley stayed at Hotel Oasis in Pushkar. However, he entered a wrong passport number in the C-form --- a mandatory form to be filled by foreigners, while checking into a hotel. Bairwa said the hotel owner Kailash Parashar didn't hand over the C-form to the CID, and a case has been registered against him under 7/14 of the Foreigners Act. It has also come to light that Chabad House, a rest house for Israelis in Pushkar, is just 50 metres away from Hotel Oasis and Headley had stayed in a room whose window opened towards Chabad House. The hotel owner, Kailash, also confirmed that he had requested for the room on that particular side of the hotel. Headley had earlier tried to check into Hotel Goyal Inn, which is also close to Chabad House.




US to cooperate on Rana, Headley

New Delhi, December 3
Terming the recent US visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “successful”, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today said the US had agreed to cooperate with India in the case relating to terror suspects David Headley and Tahhawur Hussain Rana. Headley, a Pakistan-born US national, and Rana, a Pakistan-origin Canadian national, are in the custody of the FBI. They are believed to have been planning a major attack on India and had clandestinely visited many places here.

Responding to clarifications sought by MPs in Parliament on his suo moto statement on the PM’s recent visit to US, Krishna said: “India’s position was clear that we will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the US well knows about it….”

On the growing relations between India and the US, he said the US has agreed to share intelligence. He allayed fears raised by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury to whether CIA and FBI, two US intelligence agencies, would open offices in India under the MoU, saying: “Indian intelligence machinery was fully competent to handle the threat of terror”. — TNS



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