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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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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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