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Make Headley approver in Pak to punish 26/11 perpetrators: Nikam

Terming the 35-year sentence of David Headley as "inadequate and disproportionate", special 26/11 public prosecutor in India Ujjwal Nikam said he should be made an approver in case in Pakistan.

Mumbai: Terming the 35-year sentence awarded to David Headley as "inadequate and disproportionate", special 26/11 public prosecutor in India Ujjwal Nikam on Friday said he should now be made an approver in the case being tried in Pakistan to punish the perpetrators.
"It is important to note that Headley had agreed in his plea bargain to give evidence from the US in respect of 26/11 terror attacks to India or Pakistan. As this has been done, it is for Pakistan to book Headley as one of the accused in the 26/11 case being tried in that country", Nikam told PTI.

"Pakistan should turn him an approver and record his evidence through video link even against LeT leader Hafiz Saeed because the neighbouring country has been saying that it has no evidence," he said, adding even Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist hanged recently for his role in the 26/11 attacks, had implicated Saeed in his confession.

As Headley has confessed to his role in the 26/11 conspiracy, his evidence is very important as he might have interacted with almost all top functionaries of LeT for completing its mission of killing scores of people in Mumbai to create a scare worldwide, Nikam said.

Headley has already given sensational information to US authorities and it is now for them to compel Pakistan to take action against people behind 26/11 strike, he said.

According to American law, Nikam said, if a prosecuting agency enters into a plea bargain with an accused, both the agency and the accused have to discharge their respective obligations.

Had Headley been tried in India he would have got death penalty because he had played a major role in the 26/11 conspiracy by interacting with LeT as well as some army personnel of Pakistan, Nikam added.

Asked why Headley could not be tried in India, Nikam said 26/11 trial here had concluded. "Moreover, an accused cannot be put in double jeopardy by trying him again for an offence for which he has already been convicted, he said.

He, however, said the punishment awarded to Headley by the US Court was "inadequate and disproportionate considering the magnitude of the crime and the major role he played in it".

Also, he said, since the American prosecutors had asked for a 35-year sentence, the court was obliged to grant that.

"I personally feel that Headley was a key mastermind behind the 26/11 attack along with other LeT leaders. He knows right from point A to point Z of the criminal conspiracy hatched by the terror organisation in Pakistan. American Government should utilise this information in prosecuting other perpetrators of the 26/11 strike," he said.