In the backdrop of the WikiLeaks revelation that the Government of India was never serious about the extradition of American terror operative David Headley, it is interesting to note that the plea before the Supreme Court in the 26/11 attacks case does not make any mention of this name.
The Maharashtra government, in its appeal againgst the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin, spells out various points but does not make a single mention about the role of David Headley in the case.
The Headley-26/11 connection is almost an open and shut case. It is extremely clear today that he had a big part to play in this horrific attack.
A reading of the Maharashtra government's appeal gives the impression that the state has stuck to the same points and their primary ground is that they are aggrieved by the impuged orders of both the trial court and the confirmation of the same by the Bombay High Court.
Gopal Subramanyam, who is representing the state in the case, says that all points would not be disclosed at the moment and more would be revealed during the course of arguments before the Supreme Court.
The special leave petition or the appeal before the Supreme Court continues to rely heavily on the maps that have been found on Fahim and Sabahuddin.
It speaks about how the two had come from Lucknow and prepared maps to facilitate the attacks on that night.
The plea goes on to say that the actions of these men who were not part of the attack that night resulted in the loss of 166 lives and also caused damage worth over Rs 155 crore.
The appeal relies very heavily on the statement by prosecution witness 160, Nooruddin Shaikh who says that it was in his presence that the maps were handed over by Fahim to Sabahuddin and also the map looks like the same map, which was in the possession of slain terrorist, Abu Islamil.
The appeal also adds that it is evident from the interrogation of Shaikh the role played by both Saba and Fahim and it was on the basis of his statements that the duo, who were arrested in the case pertaining to the attack on the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Rampur, were brought down for interogation in connection with the 26/11 case.
Advocate for Sabhauddin, Ejaz Naqvi informed that the state has deliberately supressed facts regarding Headley.
"We will object to the appearence of Gopal Subramanyam in this case. It is clear that he had prepared the questionnaire for Headley when the latter was interviewed by the NIA. He is aware of the role played by Headley and yet decides not to mention him in this appeal. Moreover, his appereance is fatal to the case of my client, as we have filed a case against Headley too stating that he should be brought on record in this appeal. It has been proven and accepted by the courts in the US that he was the man who carried out the survey of the targets and yet they omit him from the appeal," he told rediff.com.
Sources in the National Investigation Agency, however, said that it is not fair to state that they were not serious about Headley's extradition.
"The case against Headley and Rana will be a seperate one and that has been intentionally done. There were practical issues where Headley is concerned and his plea bargain made it clear that we could not extradite him. We cannot comment on why he has been left out of the state appeal, but would like to add that the NIA case will be a seperate one, as we have conducted the probe seperately on Headley. The chargesheet will be filed soon as we await some documents and once that it made available, the chargesheet will be filed," a source told told rediff.com