The Centre on Saturday said all “bottlenecks” hindering access to the 26/11 accused, David Headley, have been removed and a new team will be sent to the U.S. to pursue the matter.
“...All the bottlenecks are removed and we have a way forward. So it's up to us to operationalise the plan forward,” said Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, who has just returned from the U.S. after holding discussions. The law officer told journalists: “Once we are ready to constitute our team, and get off board from India, the access should be possible.”
Mr. Subramaniam appreciated the “unstinted cooperation” from the U.S. authorities and said he had a “very fruitful” round of discussions with them.
His five-day visit was aimed at understanding the U.S. legal system within which India could get access to Headley, a Pakistani-American, sources said.
He discussed with officials of the U.S. Justice Department modalities of access to Headley, a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, in an appropriate legal format. India wants to question Headley in a manner that his statement would be acceptable in a court of law here. In this regard, a charge sheet would also be required to be filed against Headley in India.
Headley, who was arrested in October last, has entered into a plea bargain with the U.S. government. He has offered to be available to foreign investigators through deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory.
Mr. Subramaniam earlier advised the government to settle for nothing less than Headley's extradition to ensure a thorough custodial interrogation.
Headley has told his American interrogators that he had several times conducted recce for the Mumbai attacks. He has also revealed that a serving Pakistani Army Major had given him training in Pakistan.
Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told journalists here: “We have been assured that Indian investigators would be given direct access to David Headley. This should put an end to the doubts expressed in certain quarters.”