Pakistani-origin American, David Coleman Headley, who is at the centre of a global terrorism investigation for his alleged role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, may well have been a “double agent” working for U.S. agencies as well as Pakistani terror organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Headley travelled to India in March 2009, four months after 26/11, but the U.S. agencies, including the FBI, did not alert or inform their Indian counterparts because it could have led to his arrest here, top officials of the Union Home Ministry said on Tuesday. Investigations also pointed to the fact that Headley could have travelled to India with his wife last March.

The officials said there was a “strong suspicion,” based on nation-wide investigations, that the CIA knew about Headley’s links with the LeT one year prior to 26/11 but did not inform Indian agencies as it could have blown the lid off Headley’s activities. He was arrested on October 3 by the FBI in Chicago for his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks.

Highly placed government sources said if he was given lesser punishment in a U.S. court, it would only strengthen India’s suspicion that he was a “double agent.” Such a punishment could also be given through the process of “plea bargain” before the court between him and the U.S. agencies.