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India to get access to Headley`s wife, girlfriend, Rana

Last Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 19:11

New Delhi: India is likely to get access to Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley`s US-based wife Shazia, his two girlfriends and accomplice in Mumbai terror attack, Tahawuur Hussain Rana soon.

The impression was given by American officials to a team of Indian investigators who has visited the US early this month.

"There is progress in the discussion with the US officials. Hopefully we will get access to them soon," a Home Ministry official said.

Request to interrogate Headley`s wife Shazia Gilani, his girlfriend Portia Peter, one more female friend and Rana was given by Home Secretary RK Singh to his US counterpart Jane Holl Lute during the third Indo-US strategic dialogue held in Washington in June.

India had access to 50-year-old Pakistani-American Headley, who had carried out a recce of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack targets for the LeT, but so far had not been able to quiz his Pakistani-Canadian businessman friend Rana, wife Shazia and the two girlfriends.

Indian investigators into the 26/11 case believe that Rana, Shazia and others have a lot of information and through their interrogations more light may be thrown on the conspiracy hatched to carry out the worst terrorist strike in India and role of those behind it.

Headley had pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges, including his involvement in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives. He had, however, entered into plea bargain with US authorities.

Rana was convicted last year for providing material
support to the terrorist organisation LeT. However, he was acquitted of conspiring to provide material support to the conspiracies to bomb public places in Mumbai.

The US Federal prosecutors had argued in the Chicago court that the evidence demonstrated that Rana knowingly provided material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Rana "knew that Headley was working for Lashkar, and directly assisted him by, among many other steps, providing a cover for Headley`s travels and otherwise acting to conceal the true nature of Headley`s activities".

Rana, according to federal prosecutors, after his arrest admitted, among other things that he knew Headley had been affiliated with Lashkar for five to six years; knew that Lashkar had changed its name to Jamat-ud-Dawa because the United States had banned Lashkar; knew Headley had trained with Lashkar.

Rana also admitted that he knew Headley acted as a link between Lashkar and ISI, who provided guns to Lashkar; that Headley was helping both organisations ? Lashkar and ISI; and knew co-defendant Sajid Mir was a Lashkar associate who was working with Headley, the US federal prosecutors had said.


First Published: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 19:11
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