Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Headley interrogation crucial for Fahim-Saba appeal

The Maharashtra government's decision to appeal against the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin largely depends on India's interrogation of Lashkar operative David Headley in the US.
An officer from an investigating agency told that they were awaiting the final clearance to question Headley and were hopeful of getting it soon in the backdrop of the assurance given by US Ambassador Timothy Roemer, who said on Tuesday that India would get access to Headley in a few weeks.
Indian investigating agencies are certain that Headley had been in touch with locals while in India.
"We would like to find out whether he had any contact with the two men who were acquitted for lack of evidence by the court. We have not stumbled upon anything that shows that Headley had links with Ansari and Sabahuddin. But we are sure that Headley was in touch with various Indian operatives, as it is impossible to carry out such an operation without local support," said an investigation officer on condition of anonymity.
Indian intelligence agencies plan to question Headley about Sabahuddin and Ansari.
The Mumbai police has said that it is confident of Ansari and Sabahuddin's involvement in the attacks, though it had failed to provide substantial evidence before the court which led to their acquittal.
As the Maharashtra government has decided to appeal against the acquittal, Indian investigating agencies feel they must gather more evidence against the duo before the appeal is made in the high court.
The state can move the Bombay high court against the duo's acquittal within three months, and it must gather all evidence and prepare additional grounds for the appeal within this short duration.
"If at all Headley mentions that he had something to do with the two men, we will need to investigate the matter and place the same before the court when it hears the appeal," said the officer.At present, the Mumbai police has an extremely weak case against the duo. Apart from the maps that have been allegedly found on them, the only other evidence is the duo's confessional statements, which did not stand the test of legal scrutiny.

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