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Headley scouted attack sites in Mumbai; prior attacks were attempted

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(DIYA TV) — David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American man who helped to mastermind the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India’s financial hub, told a court Monday he traveled to the country seven times, using the trips as reconnaissance missions to scout potential targets for a Pakistan-based militant group.

The deposition has been a long time coming for Indian officials, whom have held high-hopes of establishing a direct link between the militant group and the assaults on Mumbai, which left more than 163 dead.

From a television screen at an undisclosed location in the United States—where he is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the attacks—Headley repeated previous statements that Pakistan’s main spy agency was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the attacks. Ujjwal Nikam, an Indian public prosecutor, led the questioning, which will continue more over the coming days.

Nikam, and the Indian government, hope enough evidence will be gathered through the questioning to pressure the Pakistani government to take action against the attack’s conspirators.

Men like Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi—regarded as a commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group which is believed to have overseen the 2008 attacks. Lakhvi has been free on bail in Pakistan since 2014.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the militant group’s founder, still lives and roams freely in Lahore, located in northern Pakistan. This despite the $10 million reward the United States has offered for his capture and arrest.

Headley has linked several terrorist plots to the group—he previously told US prosecutors that Lashkar “operated under the umbrella of ISI,” and that one agency official in 2006 offered to pay him for his recon missions to India before the attacks. He mirrored the same sentiments to Indian investigators when they visited him in the United States.

Through Headley’s testimony on Monday, Indian officials learned that fateful day in 2008 could have been the second, or even third attack—he opined that the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008 balked two prior attempts on the city, one in September and one in October. One of the attempts was botched so poorly, the attackers had to swim back to shore after their boat hit a rock, which sunk their arms and ammunitions.

Adding insult to injury, Headley said he changed his name to sound more American as he was told by his Lashkar contact that it would result in easier entrance into India. Currently age 55, Headley is the son of a Pakistani poet and diplomat Syed Saleem Gilani, and Philadelphia socialite A. Serrill Headley. After being convicted of distributing heroin in the United States, Headley struck a deal to travel to Pakistan in 2002 to provide the Drug Enforcement Administration with information of heroin trafficking.

Pakistani officials wouldn’t be fooled, capturing Headley quickly, alongside the company of another drug smuggler—at that point, the Pakistani government, too, decided to turn Headley into an informant.

While working as an DEA informant, Headley began his training with Lashkar, since then, a girlfriend and two former wives of Headley’s have approached U.S. officials saying they suspected him of sympathizing with terrorist groups. No action was ever taken.

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India becomes 5th largest economy, overtakes UK, France

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Economy

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — India is now the world’s fifth largest economy, overtaking the UK and France in 2019, according to a report by American non-partisan think tank World Population Review. The report says India’s economic liberalization starting in the early 1990s was key to this growth. Though the report also indicates India’s real GDP growth is expected to weaken for the third straight year from 7.5 percent to 5 percent.

Billionaire entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on stage at the ninth Democratic Debate in Las Vegas, qualifying for the first time after polls indicate his star is rising amongst potential Democratic primary voters after spending more than $300 million in political advertising. Diya TV will be in Las Vegas with full coverage from what will certainly be an eventful night.

Lakshmi Sridaran, who has been the interim executive director for non-profit civil rights group, SAALT, South Asian Americans Leading Together, will take on that role moving forward. SAALT also announced Simran Noor will serve as their new Board Chair.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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150,000 people expected for ‘Namaste Trump’ in Gujarat

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Namaste Trump

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — President Trump & the first lady will get a massive welcome on his visit to Gujarat next week, where 150,000 people are expected to attend ‘Namaste Trump.’ It’s expected to be an even grander event than ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston, where 50,000 people greeted Prime Minister Modi. A delegation of business leaders from the U.S. are also headed to India for a series of events in New Delhi.

The 17th annual India Conference at Harvard brought more than 1000 people to the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard’s Business School including a long list of luminaries in business, politics and entertainment. And only on Diya TV, we have exclusive conversations with Indian unicorn CEOs Ankiti Bose of Zilingo and Ritesh Agarwal of OYO.

Roseville Police in California say a taxi driver, Rajbir Singh, saved an elderly passenger in his cab from giving a scammer $25,000. The 92 year old told Singh she was about to withdraw the money to settle a debt with the IRS. It sounded like a scam to Singh, who asked the woman to reconsider, even detouring to a police station to help convince her not to withdraw her money. Eventually, she decided not to proceed. Roseville Police say Singh should be honored with a “great citizen award.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian Amb. Sandhu greets USIBC in Washington

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Amb. Sandhu greets USIBC in Washington | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — New Indian ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu held court with business leaders involved with the U.S.-India Business Council and gave a preview of what to expect when President Trump meets with Prime Minister Modi later this month in India.

The annual Harvard India Conference takes place this weekend and Diya TV is a proud media partner for this event that will host a slew of well known Indian tycoons, political figures and folks working on social change.

With this large student-run India-focused conference taking place this weekend, the host city of Cambridge, Massachusetts became the second town in America to pass a resolution asking India to repeal the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and stop the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

And with the college baseball season about to start, we will take you back to what some say is the greatest performance in college baseball history. Indian American student athlete Kumar Rocker at just 19 years old, pitched a 19 strikeout no hitter to save Vanderbilt’s season on their way to winning the 2019 College World Series. Rocker is now a sophomore and is considered one of baseball’s top pitching prospects.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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