India to press for access, extradition of Headley: Chidambaram

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 17:52

New Delhi: India on Wednesday said it would press
for access to Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Headley and his
extradition, and that his plea bargain with the US authorities
is being examined in this context.

To demonstrate its keenness to have access to Headley, a
Pakistani-origin American, the Home Ministry is sending a
letter to the US which is currently being vetted.

Headley and the US Attorney have agreed on a plea bargain
and "we are examining the legal implications of the
agreement," Home Minister P Chidambaram said at a press
conference here.

"We intend to press our request for access to David
Headley for questioning him and for recording his testimony,"
he said on the issue over which the US is yet to convey a
decision to India.

In the plea bargain, Headley has expressed readiness to
be available to foreign officials for questioning through
video conferencing, deposition or Letter Rogatory (official
request).

The government is also examining the plea agreement in
the light of the provisions of the Extradition Treaty between
India and the US, he said.

The US has made it clear that extradition of Headley was
not possible.

Asked about the proposal to send a letter to the US to
seek Headley`s access, Chidambaram said it was going through
legal processes. "It is a legal document... it is being
vetted."

The letter is expected to be sent soon.

Queried whether India would also seek access to Headley`s
associate Tahawur Rana, Chidambaram said he had pleaded not
guilty and that the government would "think what action should
be taken and what action can be taken" only after he is
chargesheeted.

Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian national, was arrested
along with Headley in Chicago in October last year. They have
been accused of having played a key role in the 26/11
Mumbai attacks and planning further strikes in India.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 17:52

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