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Updated: June 12, 2011 18:20 IST

India may seek further access to Headley in U.S.

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In this courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley faces U.S. District Court in Chicago. File Photo
In this courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley faces U.S. District Court in Chicago. File Photo

India will take a decision on seeking further access to Lashkar operative David Headley in the U.S. after perusing the complete judgement of a Chicago court which acquitted Tahawwur Rana of charges of being involved in Mumbai terror attacks.

Official sources said on Sunday that once the details of the decision of the jury comes out, the sleuths of National Investigation Agency (NIA) will have parleys with experts of international law and decide the future strategy in this case.

U.S. state department spokesman Mark Toner had said in Washington that U.S. would consider giving India further access to Headley, a Pakistani-American, who has pleaded guilty in 26/11 attack, for questioning by its investigating agencies once New Delhi makes such a request.

NIA which is investigating the case against Headley, Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian and others had decided to wait for the proceedings to conclude in the Chicago court before filing a charge sheet against the accused.

The agency has also sought certain documents and evidence that were produced in the U.S. court and expects to receive them.

After examining the verdict in the U.S. court and after reviewing the documents and evidence that it expects to receive, NIA will take a decision on filing a charge sheet against Headley, Rana and others in an Indian court, official sources said.

NIA registered a case against Headley and his accomplice Rana to probe their role in various terror strikes in the country, including the Mumbai attack, on November 12, 2008.

The duo was booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for conspiring to wage war against the country.

“We have said in the past we’ve granted that access (to Headley) and, you know, obviously there was the trial that took place, but in the future we would consider providing that access again,” Toner had said.

Headley has pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges, including his involvement in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. The American-born Lashker terrorist was also a witness in the trial of Rana, who was acquitted by a Chicago court in the Mumbai attack case on June nine.

50-year-old Rana was convicted of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to theterrorism plot in Denmark and one count of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization LeT.

Rana faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the two counts combined and remains in federal custody without bond. No sentencing date was set.

India has already expressed disappointment over the acquittal of Rana by a U.S. Court on the count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai attacks.

“Government has taken note of the verdict announced by a U.S. District Court in the Tahawwur Hussain Rana case following the finding by the jury that Rana was guilty on two of three counts. Rana has been found guilty on one count of ’conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorism plot in Denmark’ and on one count of ‘providing material support to the Lashkar e Tayyiba (LeT)’.

”...We are, therefore, disappointed that Rana was acquitted on the count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks. However, it must be remembered that Rana was tried in a U.S. court in accordance with U.S. law. Criminal trials in the U.S. are jury trials and there are special rules governing such jury trials,” Government had said in its first reaction after the verdict.

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