India to ask US, Pak to extradite 26/11 accused



India to ask US, Pak to extradite 26/11 accused New Delhi: India is all set to ask the United States and Pakistan to extradite nine persons involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that include Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley, LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and two ISI officers.

Government sources said the extradition requests to the US and Pakistan will be sent "very soon" as all the nine persons were directly involved in the conspiracy as well as executing the India's worst terror strike.

The move comes a month after the National Investigation Agency chargesheeted LeT operative Headley, Hafiz Saeed, Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Headley's accomplice and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana and al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri for plotting terror attacks in India including the 26/11 strikes.

Sajid Malik, handler of Headley, and Abdul Rehman Hashmi, former Pakistani Army officer, were also named in the chargesheet besides two officers Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali who believed to be working for Pakistan's spy agency.

The extradition requests will be sent to the US despite the fact that Headley had entered into a plea bargain with American authorities to escape harsh sentence. Both Headley and Rana are at present in custody of US authorities and NIA has only got a limited access to Headley.

The seven others are believed to be in Pakistan and New Delhi does not have any extradition pact with Islamabad.

"We hope that American and Pakistani courts will take cognisance of our requests and give judgements in favour of their extradition as all the nine were involved in one of the gravest crime in the world in recent time," a source said.

NIA had registered a case against 50-year-old Headley and Rana on November 12, 2009, and later on added other names after investigation by central security agencies showed a large number of people involved in terror activities against the country.

50-year-old Rana was found guilty by the US court of terror activities in Denmark but absolved of his role in the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai.

NIA, while registering a case against Rana and Headley under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for conspiring to wage a war against the country, had alleged Headley had visited India "several times before 26/11 and once after" the Mumbai terror strike which left 166 people dead.

Barring Headley and Rana, NIA has secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against all the seven accused including Saeed and Lakhvi who is said to be in a Pakistani jail facing trial for conspiring the 26/11 attack.

Headley helped NIA identify the voices of his handlers giving instructions to the holed-up terrorists during the 60-hour carnage in Mumbai in November 2008. The handlers included Abu Hamza, the man who carried out the attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and a key planner, instructor and handler.

He also identified Sajid Majid, a top LeT terrorist, who had asked the terrorists in Chabad House, a Jewish set-up, to ensure that none of the Israelis was left alive.

Abdur Rehman retired in 2007 from the Pakistan Army as a Major. He had worked closely with Lashkar-e-Toiba and coordinated the activities of Headley. He was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan on unspecified charges and later released.

Major Iqbal was Headley's handler who arranged funds and training in intelligence gathering. Iqbal gave him USD 25,000 in August 2006 to visit India. Another Pakistani Major Sameer Ali was also named by the Pakistani-American terrorist.

The Interpol had on August 25 last year issued Red Corner notices to Saeed, Lakhvi and Abu Hamza. These were issued after a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against the two for their roles in the Mumbai attacks.

India has also sent proof and request for issuing a similar warrant against Lashker commander Zarar Shah and Abu Al Qama, to which the the Interpol said it was analysing the evidence against them.

Saeed had allegedly provided training to terrorists between 2007 and 2008-end at Muridke (LeT headquarters), Manshera, Muzzafarabad, Azizabad, Paanch Teni in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

PTI