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Headley: Investigators to leave for US in April

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 22, 2010 20:58 IST
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India is likely to send a team of investigators in April to question American terrorist David Coleman Headley, who has admitted to plotting the audacious Mumbai terror attack.

Sources in the Union Home Ministry today said the the US Department of Justice in a communication had asked officials here to be ready with a team to avail access to Headley resulting from the plea bargain agreement between him and the American government.
They said the MHA is in the process of constituting a team with the help of the Union Law Ministry under the terms of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US.

Sources said the team could leave in April but added no final decision has been taken yet. They said a final decision would be taken only after Home Minister P Chidambaram returned from his official visit to the UK.

They said composition of team, mode of access and other issues are yet to be decided. Under the plea bargain, India can have access to the 49-year-old terrorist by deposition, video conferencing or through Letters Rogatory. Sources said India will like to explore all the three.

Sources said the visit will be undertaken on mutually accepted dates as teams from Pakistan and Denmark are also likely to go to US to question Headley.

They said the team could go even before the National Investigation Agency files a charge-sheet against Headley or after it.

They said the NIA may file a case against Headley under the Passport Act for misrepresenting the facts by not divulging his original name - Dawood Gilani.

Headley had last week pleaded guilty to all the 12 terror charges of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons and providing material support to foreign terrorist plots and Pakistan-based LeT besides aiding and abetting the murder of six US citizens in the 26/11 attacks that killed 166 people.

The US, which had so far denied India the right to question Headley who was arrested by the FBI in October last year, said he has agreed to "fully and truthfully" participate in this process which has to be undertaken only on American soil.

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