Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NIA team ready with questionnaire to probe Headley

The National Investigation Agency team, which is in US to question Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Headley, is equipped with enough evidence against him, home ministry sources told

Sources said there won't be any shortcomings this time. The Indian investigators will file an application and submit it to the US court along with the evidence against Headley to gain direct access to him. The two law officers, who have joined the NIA team, will handle the legal proceedings in the US.

Sources pointed out that the team would question Headley directly dismissing reports that they would not gain direct access. Earlier, when the formalities were being worked out, Headley's legal team had insisted that the Indian investigators must submit a questionnaire and the answers would be handed back to them.

However, following several rounds of discussions, the Indian team was able to convince US authorities that it had to question Headley directly. Headley's legal team and an officer from the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be present during the interrogation, said sources.

The Indian team will need at least three days to question Headley. Since the entire questioning would revolve around the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and also the local angle in it, the questionnaire is expected to be extensive.

Moreover, there will also be cross-questioning by the investigators based on Headley's replies. In case the Indian team is granted additional time to question further, a standby team will join them.

The NIA has prepared the entire questionnaire, which also includes questions on Headley's links with co-accused Tahawwur Rana, on the basis of investigation it has conducted independently.

With inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and approval from the home ministry, the team has backed the entire questionnaire with necessary evidence.

A special law officer from India will record the statements made by Headley in US and these will be submitted in an Indian court after a chargesheet is filed against Headley.

The chargesheet will be filed and submitted to the special court in Mumbai that has been hearing the 26/11 case.

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