Monday, June 7, 2010

Headley probe proves to be tough for Indian team

Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative and 26/11 attacks accused David Coleman Headley has proven to the visiting Indian investigating team that he has immense experience in dodging interrogation.

It has been frustrating so far, a source who is in touch with the Indian team in the United States of America, told

The team has managed to interrogate Headley for several hours, but not a single fresh lead has cropped up as yet. On one hand, Headley cites the law, and on the other, he speaks just what he had confessed at the plea bargain in March 2010.

He had already told them what they know, and the Indian team is looking for information beyond his confession to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Headley had stated that he had surveyed targets in Mumbai and passed on information to the Lashkar bosses in Pakistan. However, what the Indian team is keen to know is the exact manner in which he dodged security, how he used travel agencies for the purpose, and more importantly the persons he was in touch with while in India.

It has been a bad start for the Indian team and they are getting stuck in legalities. Headley had quoted the Fifth Amendment of the American justice system, which states that a person who has opted for a plea bargain cannot be forced to implicate himself during interrogation.

While the Indian team has been insisting that it would not apply to Headley, he continues to insist during interrogation that it does. The legalities are currently being worked out, but the interrogation will continue and the National Investigation Agency will try and elicit as much information from him as possible.

Indian intelligence agencies who have been keeping a close tab on the interrogation say that Headley is no ordinary agent. It will be extremely difficult to interrogate him.

Not only was he an undercover FBI agent, but also turned rogue when he started working for the Lashkar. Both the jobs that he has undertaken demand skills in dodging interrogation.

Hardcore operatives of the LeT and the Al Qaeda are trained to handle interrogation, and they usually take the cops on a wild goose chase. The Indian agencies are worried that even if they manage to ensure that Headley opens up, the information may not be correct.

A chargesheet cannot be filed against him just on the basis of what he says, but whatever he has said needs to be backed by evidence based on investigations when the team is back in India.

As of now, the interrogation is looking extremely bleak. Indian agencies feel that they would have to get access to Headley's partner in crime Tawwahur Rana, and try finding out from him Headley's role. They feel that Rana may not be that tough a nut to crack like Headley.

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