NIA teams to trace Headley, Rana’s visits

NIA teams to trace Headley, Rana’s visits

Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has formed several teams here as well as in other states and started questioning several people to trace the footsteps of David Headley, an US citizen arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on terror charges, and his accomplice Tahawwar Hussain Rana, in India.

NIA officials were looking for an estate agent in Khar, a western suburb of Mumbai, and Tardeo of central Mumbai, who could have helped Headley in finding a house in Breach Candy in south Mumbai, officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The officials, who arrived in the city on 14 November, will examine and procure as well as retrieve surveillance camera footage, in case they were deleted, from various hotels of the metropolis where the duo had visited.

Headley and Rana were arrested by FBI last month on charges of plotting terror strikes inside and outside the US.

NIA officials are also understood to have questioned Rahul Bhatt—son of film-maker Mahesh Bhatt—and three other people, including the proprietor of the gym where Headley is believed to have met Rahul Bhatt, the officials said, adding that some of the computers and laptops, purportedly used by Headley, have been seized and sent for examination.

Officials of central security agencies have found that Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistan origin, also went to Kochi.

Union home secretary G.K. Pillai, while making it clear that no one has been given clean chit in the Headley case so far, said in New Delhi that Rana had visited Kochi last year, 10 days before the terror attacks in Mumbai on 26 November last year. He said the probe into the duo’s trail in India will take four to six weeks.

Intelligence agencies were also looking into the angle whether the purpose of Rana’s visit was to recruit youth for terrorist activities, people familiar with the matter said.