The continuing enigma of David Coleman Headley

By IANS | Published: November 25, 2021 07:30 PM2021-11-25T19:30:04+5:302021-11-25T19:35:17+5:30

New Delhi, Nov 25 His prowess at reconnoitering sites for unconscionable and indiscriminate terror bloodbaths was perhaps only ...

The continuing enigma of David Coleman Headley | The continuing enigma of David Coleman Headley

The continuing enigma of David Coleman Headley

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New Delhi, Nov 25 His prowess at reconnoitering sites for unconscionable and indiscriminate terror bloodbaths was perhaps only exceeded by his propensity to cooperate with authorities when caught.

Thirteen years after the Mumbai carnage, Daood Sayeed Gilani aka David Coleman Headley remains an enigma, with no clear answers to the vexed question of whom he worked for, to what extent, and what he believes in.

Caught by the US when planning a new outrage, he was made available to Indian investigators, but his extradition has been firmly ruled out even as that of his childhood friend is progressing on the basis of evidence he is providing.

Sentenced to a three-and-a-half-decade jail term, Headley's present whereabouts are unknown.

And in India, he transitioned from a key accused to a key prosecution witness, being pardoned by a Mumbai court on the condition that he makes a clean admission of the conspiracy behind 26/11 and he freely complied.

What do we make of the chequered life and career of David Headley?

Renowned journalist and author Adrian Levy got it right, categorising Headley, whose mismatched pupils are his distinguishing feature, as an "extraordinary maverick chameleon character who only served himself despite professing multiple allegiances".

Levy's 'The Siege: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj', co-authored with Cathy Scott-Clark, contends Headley's background a Pakistani father and an American mother explains why he betrayed everyone he came in contact with: his friends when he became a drug dealer, the drug syndicates when he became an informer for the US Drug Enforcement Administration

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