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NIA seeks limited access to Headley, Rana

August 28, 2013 18:57 IST

The National Investigation Agency, probing the conspiracy angle in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, will be holding a video conferencing with the US's Department of Justice for providing "limited access" to alleged Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist David Headley and his accomplice Tahawwur Rana.

The video conference will come in the wake of reluctance on the part of Federal Bureau of Investigation, which blew the lid off the conspiracy being hatched by Headley, an American-Pakistani national, along with Rana, who is a Pakistani national settled in Canada, for any further interrogation of the duo by Indian investigators.

Official sources said the video conference will be held soon ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the United States where he is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama as well next month.

However, the matter is unlikely to figure in the prime minister's bilateral talks in the US but sources said it is expected a final decision of whether to allow limited access to Healdey and Rana would be taken before his visit.

India had intensified its efforts for access to Headley and Rana and during Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue held in Washington on May 20-22. India wanted the US to hand over the duo for a brief period after FBI expressed its inability to extradite him.

There was a possibility that the US may allow the questioning of Rana, who has not been sentenced for any role in the Mumbai attacks but was jailed for 14 years followed by five years of supervised release for his role in botched-up terror plot in Denmark and his wilful association with Headley.

The US has not given India any opportunity to question Rana. Investigators hope Rana's questioning may yield more information and his interrogations could throw more light on the conspiracy hatched to carry out the worst terror strike in India and the role of those behind it.

Headley, 53, had pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges, including his involvement in the November 2008 attacks that claimed 166 lives in Mumbai. He had, however, entered into plea bargain with US authorities and was sentenced to 25 years jail.

Rana, 52, was convicted for providing material support to the LeT and for backing a "dastardly" plot to attack a Danish newspaper.

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