Tahawwur Rana, the doctor alleged to have helped David Headley in carrying out the Mumbai terrorist attack, pretended to be or was actually unable to remember the names of the organizations such as Lashkar e Toiba, Jamaat ud Dawa etc.. when talking to the FBI.
The Government of US played back the tape of FBI’s first interrogation in the Court over night in the US, in which Rana said that he had spoken to Major Iqbal from the ISI. Rana agreed that Headley used to tell him about the fact that he was affiliated with certain groups as well as the ISI — the Pakistani intelligence agency.
“He would mention them.. He’d say he’s had this training also.. ,” Rana said, even naming Ilyas Kashimiri, the al Qaeda operative believed to be killed recently.
Asked to mention the groups that his friend was involved with, Headley pretended or in fact did not seem to remember and stumbled two or three times before saying.. “Jamaat.. ” before the FBI interrogator completed the name for him. Then Rana said that the organization used to be called something else and again stumbled.. but then said ‘Lashkar e Toiba.’
“They changed their name from.. hmm.. Lashkar e Toiba, I guess.. Yeah, Lashkar e Toiba.. Please do remember that I don’t go them, investigate them, read [about] them.. From the media..” Rana said.
Rana accepted that he has spoken to the ISI — possibly because the FBI already had knowledge and proof that Rana was in touch with the ISI. Rana also accepted that he would call Major Iqbal — the ISI liaison — ‘Balaji’.
Rana said his calling Major Iqbal ‘Balaji’ in the phone conversation did not indicate that the ISI agent was a friend or acquaintance, but only that Rana felt he can call Major Iqbal Balaji as Iqbal is freqently shortened to Balaji in Pakistan.
Asked about the subject of the conversation, Rana said they were discussing a possible move back for Rana from the US to Pakistan. “Since I deserted, they think I want to go back to Pakistan.. He said ISI could ask to forgive you.. I told him my friends were Generals [in the Pakistani army,]” Rana is seen saying in the tape.
Rana was also asked whether he knew of ISI providing the ‘freedom fighters’ of Kashmir with weapons and he said: “Obviously, it’s a freedom fight in Kashmir. I think he said ISI gives them weapons… When they cross over, to India.., at the moment that they say bye bye to each other, ISI gives them guns,” he said.
The process of testimony of witnesses in the case will end today and the Jury has already expressed willingness to take their ‘final instructions’ before arriving at a verdict of guilty or not guilty on the Doctor.