New Delhi: In yet another embarrassment for the UPA government, a ‘secret’ US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks indicated that the government of India may have merely been posturing for public consumption in seeking extradition of LeT operative and one of the main accused in the 26/11 attacks David Coleman Headley from the US about two years ago. The fresh WikiLeaks expose was reported in a leading daily.
A secret cable to the US State Department dated December 17, 2009, released by WikiLeaks, quoted former National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan as telling Timothy Roemer, then US ambassador to India that New Delhi was just trying to mislead the Indian public by demanding the extradition of Headley.
The secret cable revealed that Narayanan reportedly told Roemer that it was important for the government to be seen “making the effort". The ex-NSA had made the remarks after he was told by Roemer that New Delhi should refrain from requesting Headley`s extradition.
In the leaked cable, where Roemer was seeking New Delhi`s commitment to not request Headley`s extradition, Narayanan had said the Indian Government would be "in the hot seat" if it were seen as pre-emptively relinquishing extradition of Headley.
"He (Roemer) explained that the threat of extradition to India could cause Headley`s cooperation to dry up, but that allowing the US judicial process to unfold or securing a plea agreement that both reflects his overall culpability and ensures his continued cooperation would maximize our ability to obtain further information from Headley," the leaked cable said.
Reacting sharply to the leaked WikiLeaks cable, Narayanan outrightly rejected the “expose” and said that the country was very much serious in getting David Headley extradited.
"There is no question about the fact that we are serious about his extradition. We are interested about information about him," Narayanan told reporters here.
Asked about the cable quoting him as saying that India`s demand for Headley`s extradition was "just political posturing" Narayanan said neither he nor anyone else could believe that there was such a possibility.
Narayanan insisted that US officials should be asked as to what made them write so and reiterated India`s "right intentions" to bring Headley to India while holding that what the Americans write is "up to them."
Earlier in the day, the government also rejected the WikiLeaks “expose”.
Official sources said the government is serious about getting Headley extradited from the US. They added that a chargesheet against Headley in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case would be filed soon.
Further, government sources had said Narayanan’s remarks on Headley, if true, were his personal remarks.
With PTI inputs