Headley's status hearing on March 23 cancelled



Headley`s status hearing on March 23 cancelled Chicago: A status hearing in the case of Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley, which was set for March 23, has been cancelled following his confession in a US court about involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

With 49-year-old Headley, an operative of the Pakistan-based LeT, pleading guilty to all 12 terror charges against him in a Chicago court on March 18, a status hearing in his case that was earlier scheduled for March 23 has been cancelled, officials said.

Under a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons and providing material support to LeT, besides aiding and abetting the murder of six US citizens in the 26/11 attacks that killed 166 people.

A US Attorney's office spokesman said that Headley -- who also confessed to plotting an attack against a Danish newspaper which published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad – will remain at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC) located in downtown Chicago for the time being.

Since his arrest in October last year, Headley has been held at the MCC. Co-accused Pakistani-Canadian Rana too is in the same lock-up, though the two "friends from a Pakistani military school" stay separately and do not meet each other inside the lock-up.

Headley is also likely to testify against Rana, a Chicago businessman who is also charged in both the Mumbai and Danish plots.

The allegations against Rana are sketchier, but authorities said he let Headley pose as an employee of his immigration business to use as cover for his travels overseas.

Headley has stated in the plea agreement that Rana knew details of the 26/11 attacks and about his frequent travels to Pakistan and meetings with LeT terrorists regarding the strikes.

The spokesman further said no date yet has been fixed for a hearing on Headley's sentencing.

As per the plea agreement struck with the US government, Headley would continue to share information and can be questioned by Indian and other foreign governments, but on American soil only.

In return, Headley would not be given the death penalty, nor would he be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark.

His attorneys have said Headley has agreed to be interviewed by foreign governments, who will send representatives to the United States for the sessions.

PTI