A team of Indian investigators arrived in the US today to interrogate for the first time David Coleman Headley, accused of helping Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists carry out the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The team comprises officers of the National Investigation Agency and a law officer. This will be for the first time that 49-year-old Pakistani-American Headley will be facing direct questions from Indian investigators since his arrest in October last year.
Besides the Indian team, those expected to be present during the questioning would be Headley’s lawyer and an officer of the FBI.
The questioning of Headley, currently being held in the federal lock—up Metropolitan Correctional Centre here, is going to revolve around the places he had visited after the Mumbai terror attacks and the people he had remained in touch with during his stay in India.
Sources in India said the four-member team has prepared questions about his stay in the country especially during March 2009, his last visit to India.
The travel details of Headley, the globe-trotting prized asset of the LeT, are being sought mainly as investigators believe that this visit may have been to finalise the synchronised terror strikes on Jewish houses located in five cities, the sources said.
They said the government has kept ‘backup staff’ in readiness if the team needed any assistance.
The statement of Headley would be recorded by the Special Law Officer of India after which the NIA, which has registered a case against Headley and Pakistani-Canadian national Tahawwur Rana for waging war against the country and Unlawful Activities Prevention (Act), may file a chargesheet against him.
Headley, a Chicago—based American with roots in Pakistan, has already confessed to have conducted several reccees as part of the planning for the ghastly attacks that killed 166 people in the country’s financial capital in November 2008.
After being arrested in October last year, the 49—year old entered into a plea bargain with the US government in March this year, wherein he offered to be available to foreign investigators through deposition, video conferencing or letters rogatory.
However, further details like for how many hours or days the Indian team would get access to Headley, were not yet given.
Headley’s lawyer John Theis said last week he would not comment on any specific details of such an access and “would not be able to share specific information at this point” as to when and for how long the team from India can question Headley.
The team has been sent following a communication from the U.S. Justice Department that all concerned officials and the lawyer of Headley will be available during their visit to facilitate their access to Headley.