India gets access to Headley, NIA asked to prepare

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New Delhi, Mar 20: United States has calmed India's nerves about the new developments in David Coleman Headley's case and has promised access to the 26/11 terrorist.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday, Mar 20 announced that India will be obtaining access to Pakistan-origin American terrorist Headley for questioning in a properly constituted judicial proceeding and he will be obliged to cooperate fully with the interrogations.

This statement came after US Attorney General and Head of Justice Department, Eric Holder spoke to Chidambaram over telephone on Friday, Mar 19 night.

In a statement, the Home Minister said, "It is my understanding that India would be able to obtain access to Headley to question him in a properly-constituted judicial proceeding. Such judicial proceeding could be either pre-trial or during an inquiry or trial."

"It is also my understanding that Headley is obliged to cooperate fully and truthfully in such proceedings," he added.

Chidambaram has directed the the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies to make arrangements and prepare to question the LeT operative.

Holder has reportedly clarified on the aspects of the US plea agreement with Headley.

In the plea agreement, Headley has agreed to co-operate with all international judicial proceedings.

Referring to the fact that Headley has admitted to conspiring with LeT members and has indicted certain terror elements operating from Pakistan, Chidambaram said, "The plea agreement should spur Pakistan to take action against all the conspirators and bring them to justice. Nothing short of that will be acceptable to India or will satisfy world opinion."

Headley, who was arrested in 2009 by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), pleaded guilty to all the terror charges slapped against him on Thursday, Mar 18 before a Chicago court to strike a bargain deal with prosecutors.

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