Missing visa documents Headley also found, says Tharoor

Posted By: Staff
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New Delhi, Dec.19 (ANI): Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said that missing visa application papers of Mumbai attack's second suspect David Coleman Headley have also been found.

The documents related to Tahawwur Rana, another suspect presently in FBI custody were traced earlier.

On Thursday, Shashi Tharoor said that while the Indian consulate in Chicago had found the visa application papers of the other suspect Pakistan-born Tahawwur Rana, Headley's papers were being searched.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which arrested Headley and his associate Tahawwur Rana in October, found that they were linked to last year's Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and caused tensions between India and Pakistan relations.

On the sidelines of a CII-Aspen conference on Ideas India 2009 in New Delhi, Tharoor said that although the papers of Headley have been traced, it is more important to see what he did when he arrived in India.

"It takes time to dig through thousands of them to find a particular application. It has been found and has been looked at. But let's face it the important issue is not whether he got a visa or not, we know he got a visa. He is an American citizen born in Washington DC. It would have been unusual for us to deny him a Visa. So he got a Visa. We know he came here. What we need to know is much more about what he did and what the consequences were for the well being of the Indians of what he did. So let's not focus obsessively on what is essentially marginalia... At least we are pleased to say that eventually, the papers were found. But far more important is what he did when he came to this country and that's what investigations are looking at," said Shashi Tharoor.

Recent media reports stated that visa related documents of the duo were missing.

The Indian Consulate in Chicago had issued multi-entry visas to Headley to travel to India.

Between 2006 and 2008, both these suspects made several trips to various cities in India.

In a chargesheet filed in a US court, the FBI has said Headley and Rana knew the Mumbai attackers and were aware of their strike in advance.

Headley was arrested in the United States two months ago. U.S. prosecutors charged him last week with scouting targets for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai rampage on hotels and a Jewish centre.

However, Indian officials contended that they would prefer Headley be punished in India, and indicting him was the first step towards seeking his extradition for an Indian trial. India and the United States have an extradition treaty.

A top civil servant inHome Ministry last week said that the US federal investigators had shared evidence and some details from Headley's interrogation, but more evidence was needed before the Pakistani-born Chicago man could be charged in Indian courts.

India has charged 38 people in the Mumbai attacks, including the lone surviving suspected gunman who is facing trial in a special court at Mumbai.

Most of those accused and charge-sheeted are believed to be in Pakistan.

Headley, 49, travelled to Mumbai allegedly five times between September 2006 and July 2008, taking pictures and videos of some places hit in the attacks as well as the port where the attackers landed by boat, according to US court documents.

As per the documents in the US court, he travelled to Pakistan to turn over the results of his surveillance and, in early 2008; he took boat trips into the Mumbai harbour at the direction of his Lashkar contacts.

In November 2008, 10 attackers launched an assault on various targets in Mumbai, including the city's main train station, two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. Of them, nine attackers were killed. One was captured alive and is now in a Mumbai jail, facing trial.

India turned in evidence against what it said were plotters of the attack to help a separate Pakistani investigation into the raid. But the slow trial of seven Pakistanis accused of involvement is straining India-Pakistan relations. (ANI)

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