David Headley did not name Ishrat, NIA tells Home Ministry

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is learnt to have told the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that 26/11 suspect David Coleman Headley has not mentioned Ishrat Jahan in his "official" confession.

The MHA had sought a report after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asked Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to clear the air on the issue.

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Confirming this, NIA sources said the agency has, however, asked the MHA not to refer to Headley's statement in any other case, as it is part of the "sovereign assurance" given to the US.

"The use of Headley's testimony in any other case may affect the 26/11 probe. The CBI can approach the NIA court for details," said a top NIA official.

Earlier, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was reported to have claimed that Headley, in his statement to the NIA soon after his arrest in the US in 2009, had admitted that Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had told him in 2005 about the failed operation involving Ishrat and the men who were killed with her in 2004.

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When contacted, G K Pillai, who was the home secretary between 2009-2011, said: "To the best of my knowledge, there is no mention of Ishrat in Headley's 117-page interrogation report submitted by NIA before me."

The NIA is yet to trace the origin of the report which is being circulated as Headley's testimony in which he mentions Ishrat. NIA informed the MHA that it had dismissed the report as "hearsay" and was yet to get any corroboration from the FBI.

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