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India to send team to quiz Headley: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa
March 19, 2010 14:56 IST
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Indian investigators, who conducted a detailed probe into the David Coleman Headley's link to the Mumbai 26/11 case, would wait before they can file a charge-sheet against the man who pleaded guilty before an American court on Thursday.

Home ministry officials told rediff.com that Headley's extradition has been ruled out for the time being, but they would send a team to the US to interrogate Headley regarding his involvement in the Mumbai case.

A source says that the final charge-sheet against Headley can be filed only after his interrogation or else it will look as though the man is an absconder.

"We will need to interrogate him and file a different charge since it would amount to double jeopardy as per our law if we try him under the same charges," he said.

Intelligence Bureau officials, who are involved in the formalities to quiz Headley, say that the biggest concern is that Headley's interrogation will have to remain within the framework of US laws.

"There are a lot of clauses that were inserted before Headley decided to plead guilty and the main one being that he cannot be extradited to India. When there is such a clause, it would be extremely difficult to seek his extradition," the IB said.

Officials say that there would be no problem for them to question him in the US since there is no clause preventing them from doing that.

"Our agencies will go there and question him and he could also testify in the ongoing trial in Mumbai since he is involved in that case. A team comprising officials of the National Investigating Agency and the Intelligence Bureau is being prepared and they would go to the US to question Headley. Based on the information that he gives out pertaining to the Mumbai attacks, a chargesheet will be prepared against him. His statements to the Indian agencies would then be used in the trial. Though India may not be able to convict Headley thanks to his plea bargain, the case would be strengthened in India's favour," sources say.

While there would be information sought regarding his direct role in the Mumbai attacks, Indian agencies would also be looking to increase the pressure on Pakistan and question him regarding the role played by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba top leadership.

"They would also look to question him on the role of some former Pakistan army officials who he had claimed he had stayed in touch with. We are carefully examining his confession and the interrogation would revolve around that," the IB said.

The IB says that it is hopeful of getting access to Headley without any problem this time around since they have information that officials from Denmark who have a case against Headley had managed to get access to him and also probe him.

Also see our exclusive report: Headley's guilty plea: 'Good deal'

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