26/11 trial: Court rejects plea to examine Headley as witness

Last Updated: Monday, March 22, 2010 - 18:59

Mumbai: A special court on Monday rejected
the plea to make Pakistan-American terrorist David Headley a
witness in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case after the prosecution
argued that he is one of the accused and part of a module
which had filmed targets in the city.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam opposed the
plea by Sabauddin Ahmed, arrested in connection with the
26/11, for examining Headley as a witness, saying he was an
accused and therefore cannot tender evidence.

Nikam said if Headley was extradited to India he will
be treated as an accused and not as witness. 49-year-old
Headley had pleaded guilty in a US court last Thursday to all
the 12 charges against him including his involvement in the
26/11 attacks.

The prosecutor said that LeT, which executed the
November 26, 2008 terror attacks, had formed different modules
to collect information about the targets. Headley was one of
them who had filmed the targets.

Accepting the prosecution contention, Judge M L
Tahilyani said he had rejected a similar plea earlier and no
fresh grounds has been made by Sabauddin in this application
to examine Headley as a witness.

Sabauddin in his application had attached a copy of
the guilt plea bargain between Headley and the US government.

The court however said it cannot take cognizance of
the copy as it was downloaded from the internet and not an
authentic copy.

The court has also restrained Sabauddin`s lawyer Ejaz
Naqvi from circulating the copy to anyone else.

Sabauddin along with another Indian national Faheem
Ansari and lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab are
facing trial for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy
of the terror attack and for the murder of 166 persons.

Sabauddin and Faheem have been accused of preparing
maps of the sites that were targeted and of supplying them to
members of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba
(LeT).

For examining Headley as witness in the 26/11 terror attack
case saying he was an accused and therefore cannot tender
evidence.

Nikam said if Headley was extradited to India he will be
treated as an accused and not as a witness.

The prosecutor further said that LeT, which executed the
November 26 terror attacks, had formed different modules to
collect information about the targets. Headley was one of them
as he had filmed the targets.

Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed were in the other
module and the duo had drawn maps of targets which were handed
over to LeT.

Headley, therefore, could not give evidence in the court
as a witness unless he turned approver, Nikam argued.

The court accepted the prosecution`s argument and
rejected Sabauddin`s plea to examine Headley as witness.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 22, 2010 - 18:59

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