The Indian Consulate in Chicago has retrieved the visa application forms submitted by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley, and the papers are being sent to India, sources here said.

They declined to be identified because External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is expected to make a statement in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

“Everything is in hand, and we had also said earlier that it was a time-consuming job to retrieve the papers from the thousands kept in the storage vault,” the sources said.

They said the retrieval of the forms vindicated the stand taken by Mr. Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao in refusing to prejudge the issue of “missing” papers. The Chicago Consulate had also denied having ever reported the loss of the forms.

Officials of the External Affairs Ministry told The Hindu that before the introduction of online visa application, most consulates issuing a large number of visas sent the forms for storage in a record room. They felt that there was a delay because retrieving a form, even a couple of years old, from those amassed in the vault could be time-consuming.

Headley, who has been in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his terror links, visited India several times for allegedly conducting reconnaissance of sites for attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists.

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