People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 51

December 20, 2009

CPI(M) MP Raises Headley Issue in RS

 

The following is the text of the zero hour mention by Brinda Karat in Rajya Sabha on Headley case on December 15

 

IN a series of shocking reports emanating from the US, it is revealed that David Headley, who has been charged for conspiracy in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, was an undercover agent working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 1999. Reports state that David Headley, whose real name was Daood Saleem Geelani was arrested in February 1997 in New York for conspiring to import heroin into the US. However, since he started cooperating with the DEA, he was released and allowed to travel to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations on drug gangs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A drug smuggler was turned into a US agent.

 

Reports have elaborated how Daood Geelani started making frequent trips between Pakistan and the US since 1999 at the instance of the US intelligence agencies. Even the change of his name from Daood Geelani to David Headley, which was obviously done to make his travelling easier, was known to the US agencies who were protecting him.

 

As has been the case with several such American double agents in the past, most famously Osama bin Laden who had started his career as a CIA operative, David Headley too reportedly started working for the Lashkar. Investigations have revealed that David Headley had made multiple visits to India in 2008. It was on these trips, that this drug smuggler turned US agent turned Lashkar terrorist surveyed sites in cities, in Mumbai and reportedly the information he gathered was crucial in the 26/11 attacks. He visited India even as recently as April 2009. The FBI was evidently aware of Headley’s antecedents and had put him under surveillance well before the Mumbai attacks occurred. Did the FBI share real time intelligence with the Indian intelligence agencies? We are not concerned about the dubious methods used by the US to recruit agents but when it is our cities, our people our country targeted did they keep us informed of his trips?

 

Secondly, why are the Indian investigators being denied access to David Headley, when the FBI was allowed to question Ajmal Kasab who is in Indian custody? Is it because it will expose the under-belly of US covert operations, which has a record of creating Frankenstein’s like Osama bin Laden? Is this the type of cooperation the US is extending? Did our prime minister raise the issue when he met the US president in Washington? What steps are being taken by the Indian government to ensure that the Indian investigators question David Headley at the earliest?

 

These are crucial issues affecting national security. I hope the government will clarify.