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Updated: March 24, 2010 02:43 IST

"Roemer was only giving his opinion on Headley issue"

Special Correspondent
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Apartment of David Headley in Chicago. The U.S. Envoy, on Tuesday, said that no decision had been made to provide Indian investigators direct access to David Headley. File Photo: AP
AP Apartment of David Headley in Chicago. The U.S. Envoy, on Tuesday, said that no decision had been made to provide Indian investigators direct access to David Headley. File Photo: AP

While the U.S. on Tuesday denied that it had taken a decision to provide “direct access” to India to question Pakistani-origin American citizen David Coleman Headley, who has pleaded guilty to charges of plotting the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, sources in the government maintained “these are legal matters where not opinions but U.S. law will prevail.”

Reacting to the clarification by the U.S. ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, the sources said that so far “nothing has changed for India” since Headley entered into plea bargain last week with U.S. prosecutors, pointing out that the U.S. Ambassador was only expressing his opinion. Mr. Roemer said the U.S. had provided “substantial information” from the confession made by David Headley and was committed to doing so in the future. He said the U.S. Department of Justice “will work with the Government of India regarding the modalities of such cooperation.”

Last week, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had expressed confidence that India would get access to Headley, who is under federal custody in the U.S. ever since his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last October.

The Home Minister had also spoken to the U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder on Friday who drew attention to a clause in the plea agreement which stated that Headley “will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the U.S. by way of deposition, video conference or letters rogatory.”

The sources said Indian investigators had not taken any initiative so far in the matter though the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had been asked by the Home Minister to ready the documents required for initiating judicial proceedings so that India could get access to Headley to answer questions or testify. “Things stand as they are,” the sources said.

The section in David Headley's Plea Agreement relevant to the matter of India's access to him reads: Defendant further agrees that, when directed by the United States Attorney's Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the United States by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory.; Since grilling or even normal questioning of Headley by a team of Indian police officers cannot be catagorised as 'judicial proceedings', it was wrong to claim that the Plea Agreement has given India direct access to Headley. We are surely up against the wall in the Headley case. We should admit that and avoid further embarrassment to ourselves.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010 at 15:06 IST

Sir, It is very sad that the current set of our leaders are completely ineffective. Post Parliament attack, when Indian troops moved in on the border, US came begging to us for restraint.
The response from US on Headley clearly shows the decline in character of our leadership. Completely ineffective in the country (problems of inflation and rampant corruption) and externally (continuously increasing trade deficit and hardline talks from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh). We need some fresh and enthusiastic blood in the leadership, otherwise the future will be gloomy, gloomier, gloomiest.

from:  Rajarshi Chatterjee
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010 at 12:43 IST
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