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.