Monday, December 28, 2009
Extradition of Headley only after chargesheet filed
The extradition of arrested American national and Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Coleman Headley is likely to take place only after the Mumbai police files a supplementary chargesheet against him in connection with the 26/11 terror attacks case.
The National Investigating Agency has submitted proof to the Mumbai police regarding the role played by Headley in the Mumbai attacks.
A senior official in the home ministry told rediff.com that a lot of information that has been handed over to the Mumbai police is specific to the attacks at Mumbai.
"We are very much on the extradition trail and the process would speed up once the supplementary chargesheet in the Mumbai case and a chargesheet in the rest of the cases is filed against him. We would also wait and see what course the courts in the United States would take in this case and also plan our next course of action," the official said.
Counsel for Headley, John T Theis, told rediff.com that the evidence against Headley is still being reviewed and it would not be right for him to comment anything on the current status of the case against his client.
"Laws in the US mandate that it is the duty of the government to prove the guilt of the defendant. If they cannot do that with competent evidence, the defendant must be found not guilty," Theis said.
"I must also add that I have seen some stories in the Indian and the US media which speculate on the evidence and other aspects of this case. I would prefer to have this matter unfold in the courtroom, not in response to news articles, some of which are based on guess and conjecture," he added.
A source in the Mumbai police said that they will verify the information that has been passed on to them. "We will file a supplementary chargesheet for sure, but the contents of it would be decided only after we verify the facts of the case," he said.
A lot of the information provided by the NIA to the Mumbai police is based on the findings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that the FBI has depended a lot on the statements given by Headley in custody and drawn conclusions from them.
"Our agencies too have some amount of information specific to the Mumbai attack, but the Mumbai police will have to conduct detailed investigations before they file an additional chargesheet," IB sources said.
The Mumbai police, which has already commenced its investigations into the David Headley link to the Mumbai attacks, have not been able to find any local link relating to him.
The initial findings indicate that during all his visits to Mumbai, Headley had carried out a reccee all by himself without developing any local contact.