`U.S. was unable to allow Indian investigators access to the arrested LeT operatives because certain aspects of the legal system here protect the rights of the accused'

The United States, which foiled a major terror plot by LeT to target India, has said it would be forthcoming with details of the case but cited legal limitations in allowing Indian investigators to quiz the two arrested operatives David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana.

U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones said President Barack Obama has shown personal interest in the Headley-Rana case and the matter was discussed during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday last.

“It is something that the President and the Prime Minister discussed and both of them were very satisfied with the outcome of those discussions,” Mr. Jones told PTI in an interview here when asked about the terror plot foiled by FBI last month by arresting Headley, a Pakistani-origin American national, and Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian citizen.

He said Mr. Obama has given instructions to US authorities to share the information with India regarding Headley-Rana case, despite the limitation posed by the country’s legal system.

“At the President’s direction we have been very forthcoming with our Indian counterparts on sharing whatever information we have which might be of some assistance to (India),” Mr. Jones said, adding “as a result of the President’s guidance, we are doing as much as we can legally, without jeopardising the process of the case.”

He, however, said the U.S. was unable to allow Indian investigators access to the arrested LeT operatives because certain aspects of the legal system here protect the rights of the accused.

“There are certain aspects of our legal system that protect the right of the accused. In our system, those rights are protected,” Mr. Jones said, adding the U.S. was in “the process of explaining (to India) what we can and can’t do.”

Indian investigators were recently in the U.S. to question the two individuals arrested by the FBI, but were denied access to either of the arrested accused.

At the same time, Mr. Jones said, “We have shared (details with India), we are cooperating fully.”

He, however, refused to give any details about assistance extended by the U.S. to India in the case, even as he described it as a “good example” of cooperation.

“The Headley case is in a judicial process right now. I do not want to say anything that in any way might jeopardise it,” the U.S. National Security Adviser said.

“There is quite a bit to go on this particular case. But let me say that that case is a good example of a cooperation that started here,” Mr. Jones said.

After foiling the plot, the U.S. investigators are understood to have given details of the interrogation of the duo and leads that are being followed up by Indian investigators.

On the basis of the leads, Indian investigators have unearthed a number of links of Headley and Rana, like the number of times they visited India, the places they visited and the persons they came in contact with.

When insisted as to why the Indian investigators were not allowed to question Headley and Rana, Jones said: “I have given you the answer that I can give you. We will continue to be as helpful as we can be.”

He said he believed that Prime Minister Singh was “very satisfied” with the U.S. President’s discussion on this.

“We are going to do everything we can within our capabilities and respecting the legal boundaries that effect people in the United States and people in India,” Mr. Jones said.