By Arun Kumar
Washington, Jul 9 (IANS): Indian investigators' interrogation of Pakistani American David Coleman Headley has yielded key disclosures linking terrorists behind the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks to Pakistani intelligence, according to a US terrorism research group.
Headley, who in March pleaded guilty to 12 federal terrorism charges including providing material support to the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), also disclosed the names of the terrorist handlers who orchestrated the attacks from Pakistan, said Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Headley reportedly told investigators from India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) that LeT worked hand-in-glove with rogue elements tied to Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD), the Pakistan-based Islamic charity that serves as a front for the LeT, has also been identified by Headley as the "mastermind" of the Mumbai attacks, IPT said.
The close ties between the Pakistani terrorist group and the ISI have been detailed in the 11th dossier of evidence documenting Headley's confessions related to the attacks, the research group said.
India has submitted 10 other dossiers to Pakistan in the past citing evidence tying members of the LeT and the Pakistani military and intelligence services to the Mumbai attacks.
The dossier details LeT operative Headley's meetings with his handlers in Pakistan, including JuD's Hafiz Saeed, retired Pakistani major Sajid Mir and ISI officials in the Pakistani cities of Muzzaffarabad and Lahore in the months leading up to the Mumbai attacks.
Islamabad has denied that Hafiz Saeed and the JuD were involved, but recently recognised JuD as a terrorist group.
The admission came close on the heels of Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram's visit to Islamabad to meet with his counterpart Rehman Malik and hand him the dossier of evidence with Headley's confessions, IPT said.
The recognition of JuD as a terrorist group is also part of larger Pakistani crackdown on 17 terrorist groups, including the LeT and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), following the recent attack on a mosque in Lahore that killed at least 45 people, it said.