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India presses US to grant access to Headley

India on Friday pressed the US to grant access to Mumbai attacks plotter David Coleman Headley hoping that it will understand the "sensitivities" involved, as a team of Indian investigators arrived in Chicago.



Washington: India on Friday pressed the US to
grant access to Mumbai attacks plotter David Coleman Headley
hoping that it will understand the "sensitivities" involved,
as a team of Indian investigators arrived in Chicago.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the US has
assured India that it would be given access to Headley, who is
currently lodged in a Chicago prison, and it would be
"accommodated" and "arranged" within the legal framework of
the US.
"We have been assured that we will have access to
Headley. It is going to be accommodated and arranged within
the legal framework of of the US," Krishna told a press
conference, wrapping up his four-day visit to the US.

He said Headley is an American citizen and he is fully
covered by the American laws.

"Whatever the US legal system provides, he is entitled
to. We have to respect that as much as they respect our due
process of law. This has to be understood and in this
perspective you have to look into the Headley situation," he
said, replying to a volley of questions on the 49-year-old LeT
operative.

Krishna said the process to get access to Healdey is
on.

"This is part of the criminal investigation for an
offence which was committed. There is overwhelming evidence
that Headley is one of the chief conspirators on the attack on
Mumbai.

"We should have access so that our investigation would
be complete. I am sure that US understands the sensitivities
involved. Investigation of this kind, we can go out spelling
out the day to day progress. Right now the time is not
appropriate," he said.
Krishna did not give a direct reply to questions
whether the Indian investigators, who are currently camping in
Chicago, have got access to Headley.

Ahead of his talks with Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, Krishna had sought access to Headley, who has pleaded
guilty to plotting the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The team of Indian investigators arrived in Chicago
and is preparing to interrogate Headley.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team, putting
up at a city hotel, is headed by Loknath Behera and comprises
two Superintendents of Police and a special public prosecutor.

An FBI Chicago spokesperson told agency the federal
agency would not comment or provide any information on the
Headley interrogation.

US Attorney`s office spokesperson in Chicago Randall
Samborn said he "does not have any comment on anything related
to David Headley whatsoever".

Repeated calls to Headley`s lawyer John Theis seeking
comment on the interrogation of his client were not returned.

Headley had pleaded guilty to conspiring in the 26/11
Mumbai attacks but struck a deal with US authorities in a plea
bargain that saved him from the death penalty and extradition
to India.

The plea agreement had however said Headley would
cooperate with foreign authorities and can be interviewed by
them only on US soil.

PTI

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