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