NIA rejects plea bargain struck by Headley in U.S.

Intention is to bring all the accused to India to face trial, court told

January 07, 2012 01:11 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:12 am IST - New Delhi

The National Investigation Agency on Saturday told a special court, where it has filed a charge sheet in the 26/11 case against David Coleman Headley and eight others, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, that though it was relying on the factual assertions contained in the plea bargain document that Headley struck with U.S. federal prosecutors, it rejected the plea bargain itself and the various conditions placed in it. The plea bargain had saved Headley from a possible death penalty and from being extradited to India, Denmark, and Pakistan.

The issue came up while NIA counsel Dayan Krishnan was explaining to Special Judge (NIA) H.S. Sharma that the Agency's charge sheet was not solely based on its interrogation of Headley in Chicago, but was also corroborated by the “factual assertions” on the various terror activities of Headley mentioned in the plea bargain and his confessional statement in the Chicago trial court.

Mr. Krishnan also contended that the statement in the U.S. trial court was also admissible as evidence in Indian courts according to Section 19 and 33 of the Indian Evidence Act.

When the judge pointed out that none of the accused had been arrested so far, the NIA said its intention was to bring all the accused to India to face trial. The rejection of Headley's plea bargain was expected to be relevant in this respect.

“As per the challan, there are nine accused. None of the accused has been arrested before filing the challan. Arguments on question of taking cognisance have been heard in part. A number of documents have been referred…IO has assured us that relevant documents which shall be referred to during arguments shall be flagged before the next date of hearing. Arguments remain inconclusive. Put up for further arguments on January 21,” Mr. Sharma said.

The NIA has also filed an application under Section 166A of the Criminal Procedure Code, seeking permission to send a letter of request to the competent authority in Morocco for investigation into some aspects of the case.

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