NIA to press for Headley’s extradition

Our stand is clear. Headley is still an accused for us, says NIA officer.

February 08, 2016 11:57 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 01:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Smoke is seen billowing out of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai during "Operation Cyclone" following the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. File photo

Smoke is seen billowing out of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai during "Operation Cyclone" following the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. File photo

Even as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley deposed in a Mumbai court as an “approver” in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case being probed by the Mumbai Police, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said he continued to be an accused in its case.

An NIA officer said the agency’s multiple requests to the U.S authorities for Headley’s extradition remained “unexecuted,” but there was a “movement in a positive direction.” The NIA is investigating the larger conspiracy behind the attacks, planned by the LeT-Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami (HuJI) combine, which goes beyond 26/11.

“Our stand is clear. He is still an accused for us and we would continue to press the U.S authorities for his extradition through proper channels. Our case against him and Tahawwur Rana still hold ground. Till now, we have no such intention to make him an approver,” an NIA officer said.

He said that if at all this possibility of Headley being turned into an approver was explored in future by the NIA, it would be done so by the prosecutors and not by the investigating agency. “There are so many aspects to the conspiracy and their implications, which have not been explored yet. We need Headley’s custodial interrogation to unearth the entire terrorist module,” he said.

An NIA charge sheet filed in 2011 said Headley did not stop at conducting reconnaissance and planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but was also involved in the “execution of other future planned attacks [ on various Chabad Houses and the National Defence College, Delhi] at the behest of LeT and HuJI.” Headley travelled to India again in 2009 to conduct recce for the attacks.

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