Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday expressed confidence that India would obtain access to terror suspect David Coleman Headley to question him in properly constituted judicial proceedings which could be either pre-trial or during an inquiry or trial.
“It is also my understanding that David Coleman Headley is obliged to cooperate fully and truthfully in such proceedings,” he said in a statement here.
Mr. Chidambaram's statement came after U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder had a long telephonic conversation with him on Friday evening, clarifying various aspects of Headley's plea agreement.
Mr. Chidambaram said Mr. Holder drew pointed attention to the Chapter ‘Cooperation' of the plea agreement which stated that Headley, a Pakistani American, “will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the U.S., by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory.”
Following this, the Home Minister directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which already registered the First Information Report on November 11 last against Headley and his accomplice, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-origin Canadian national, to quickly prepare the documents necessary for starting judicial proceedings, in which Indian authorities could require Headley to answer questions or testify.
Both Headley and Rana have been charged for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy and doing the groundwork for the Mumbai terror attacks.
Mr. Chidambaram also stressed another aspect of the plea agreement, which he said was of “enormous significance.” He said the plea agreement was the most damning indictment of the role played by certain persons in Pakistan.
“In his plea agreement, Headley has admitted to conspiring with Lashkar-e-Taiba members A,B,C & D; he has admitted to meeting with and receiving instructions from them; he has admitted to attending training camps organised by the LeT on five separate occasions; he has admitted to meeting in Pakistan with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to LeT members; and he has admitted to being privy to the attacks planned in Mumbai and the despatch of a team of attackers by sea,” Mr. Chidambaram said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told journalists here that Headley would not be extradited to India or anywhere in the case under trial in Chicago, but he did not rule out such a possibility on any “future charges.”