A top Bollywood film producer's son, Rahul Bhatt, may have been a close associate of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist David Coleman Headley (a.k.a Daood Geelani), according to news reports. Rahul Bhatt's name came up in FBI affidavits filed earlier this month, when two Chicago men were arrested on federal charges for their alleged roles in foreign terror plots that focused on high profile targets in India and Denmark, including the prestigious National Defense College in New Delhi, two leading Indian boarding schools, and facilities of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet Muhammed four years ago.
According to the affidavits, the name "Rahul" came up a few times in Headley's e-mail communications with a LeT mastermind in Pakistan. The affidavits claimed "Rahul" is a reference to a prominent Indian actor. It was earlier unclear whether "Rahul" referred to Bollywood actors Rahul Bose or Rahul Khanna, or whether the name referred to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who has often played characters named "Rahul," and whose detention this past August at Newark International Airport generated controversy. The speculation surrounding the identity of "Rahul" ended only when Rahul Bhatt contacted the Mumbai police after learning of the terror suspect's arrest and informed them he knew Headley. The e-mail communications revealed the LeT mastermind was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the "Northern Project," a reference to the planned attack against the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Headley allegedly asked the LeT contact: "When you say 'move forward' do you mean in the North Direction or towards Rahul." The LeT member responded: "i [sic] mean towards Rahul," implying targeting India first.
Earlier this month Headley was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on his way to Pakistan, where he was to meet with Maulana Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of Al Qaeda's infamous 311 Brigade and the Azad Kashmir section of the Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) that has carried out deadly attacks in Kashmir. Headley's collaborator and partner in crime, Tahawuur Hussain Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, allegedly helped arrange Headley's travels overseas and used his Chicago-based immigration business to provide cover for Headley's trips to surveil potential terror targets abroad. Rana in fact helped Headley to obtain a visa for Pakistan so that he could travel to the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to attend a terrorist training camp and meet with leaders of the Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT).
News reports further claim that between 2006 and 2009 Headley ran an immigration office out of Mumbai to facilitate U.S. and Canadian visas for semi-skilled and unskilled Indian workers. The immigration office is thought to have served as a front group for terrorist activities.
It has also been reported that prior to the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Headley visited every target site of the attacks, including Nariman House, the Jewish Chabad center, Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus, and the Taj and Trident hotels. While at Nariman House in July 2008, Headley is said to have posed as a Jew – a claim backed up by the FBI's seizure of a book in his possession called How to Pray Like a Jew.