American-born LeT terrorist David Headley, accused of plotting Mumbai terror attack in 2008, had “hatred” towards India and warned that he would stop helping the probe if his admission of guilt was linked to cooperation with New Delhi.
According to a secret U.S. embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks, this was conveyed by FBI Director Robert Mueller during his meeting with Home Minister P. Chidambaram in February this year.
“Noting that the process of Headley’s proffer of evidence is nearing a critical stage, Mueller observed that Headley has expressed hatred toward India and may clam up if his guilty plea is tied in any way to cooperation with the Government of India,” the leaked cable by categorised as “secret”, U.S. envoy to India Timothy Roemer said.
While the Home Minister had said India would not be using the information provided by the U.S. in prosecution of 26/11 Mumbai terror accused including Ajmal Kasab, Mr. Chidambaram, however, made it clear to Mr. Mueller that Indian sleuths had collected information on their own through examination of Headley’s computer and emails.
The Home Minister had also insisted on having an access to Headley’s spouse, Shaiza, who he said is in Chicago and so Indian investigators can question her on the meaning of her alleged message to Headley that she “saw your graduation.”
Headley, accused of plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks at the behest of LeT and conspiring to target a Danish newspaper, pleaded guilty to all terror charges before a US court on March 18 this year.
The plea was seen as an attempt by 50-year-old Headley to escape death penalty as he faced six counts of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons in India and providing material support to foreign terrorist plots and LeT and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India.
But his plea agreement with federal prosecutors ruled out death penalty and extradition to India, Pakistan and Denmark, provided he cooperates with the government’s investigations into terrorist acts. Headley, a Chicago resident, was arrested by FBI’s joint terrorism task force on October 3 last year.
Headley had admitted he participated in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai as well as planning to attack a Danish newspaper later.
A 35-page plea agreement containing a detailed recitation of Headley’s participation in terror conspiracies was presented when he changed his plea to guilty.
“By this plea agreement, defendant agrees to enter a voluntary plea of guilty to all counts,” said the plea agreement of Headley.