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India may send team to quiz Headley and wife

February 13, 2011 16:20 IST

India is contemplating sending a commission to the United States for getting evidence from Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist David Headley and his wife, who has been kept away from Indian investigators so far.

The National Investigation Agency, which is probing the case, also plans to file a charge sheet soon against the Pakistani-American terrorist who is accused of having done recce of targets before the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said a Commission may even be sent to the United States for getting evidence, may be from Headley, his wife and from other people, for which it would talk to the US authorities.

"We need to get evidence fully on board. We cannot call them here because the request for examining his wife is still pending with the US government. We have not received any response yet," he said in an interaction with PTI journalists.

Pillai said when an NIA team had visited the US to question Headley, the examination was done under particular circumstances.

"It has no evidential value. It was just a statement, not in the presence of a magistrate... signed or sealed. It is just a hearsay statement. We have to make it into an evidential statement," he said.

Asked whether India would seek permission from the US to send the Commission, he said "Yes, that is the legal process which is required. Once the charge sheet is filed, it will be done".

After filing the charge sheet, the government would take permission from the court to send a commission to Pakistan also to question those involved who helped Headley and was giving directions to ten terrorists.

The terrorists carried out the worst ever terror attack in India that killed 179 people.

Asked whether the US authorities should have taken into confidence the Indian agencies before entering a plea bargain agreement with Headley as India was the place of his terror acts, Pillai said "oh yes, no doubt about that".

"We made it very clear to the US, during discussion level, that they entered into an agreement with David Headley saying that he would not be extradited to India and plea bargain and so on and so forth, on something where not only Indians but Americans were killed," he said.

50-year-old Headley, plead guilty to all the 12 terror charges of conspiracy involving terror acts in India, and entered into plea bargain with US authorities.

Under the plea bargain, Headley would not be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark for any offences for which he has pleaded guilty.

Pillai said the US court, which had issued summons to senior ISI officials, including its chief Major General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, along with 26/11 masterminds and LeT leaders

Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi in response to a lawsuit filed by relatives of two American victims, would take note of this fact.

"I am sure it will come up even in the American court... in the case which was filled by the relatives of the Rabbi who was killed," he said.

The relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were gunned down by militants at the Chhabad House in Mumbai, had filed the 26-page lawsuit before a New York Court on November 19 accusing the ISI of aiding and abetting the LeT to carry out the attack.

Following this, the Brooklyn court issued summons to the accused.

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