India says demand for Headley, Rana extradition stands

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 15:30 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) India said Thursday that its demand for extradition of 26/11 plotter David Headley and his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana "continues to stand" and it would work with the US "in taking the legal processes forward" in the Mumbai attack cases.

"We have received good cooperation from the US in the 26/11 cases. We intend to work closely with the US in taking the legal processes forward. Our demand for extradition of Rana and Headley continues to stand," said the external affairs ministry spokesperson here.

The spokesperson also said that India would seek access to Rana, who has been sentenced by a US court, for his involvement in the 26/11 attack.

"We have not been able to question Rana given his rights as an accused under US law. Now that he is a sentenced person, we will seek US government support for access to him and for further access to Headley," the spokesperson added.

Rana, 52, was on Jan 17 sentenced to 14 years in jail by a Chicago court for providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and for backing a "dastardly" plot to attack a Danish newspaper.

Headley on Jan 24 was handed a 35-year prison sentence for his role in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 166 people and for a foiled plot in Denmark.

India had said after Headley's sentencing that the LeT operative should have got a "harsher" punishment for his role in plotting the attacks.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said that though the US legal system does not have provision to extradite Headley, India will continue to try and get him tried in India.

The spokesperson said Thursday that bringing to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks is a "work in progress and we will take it to its logical conclusion".

He also said that India intends to continue to work with the US to seek access to "others who may be of interest and would use all existing bilateral mechanisms" for that.

"We wish to continue to work the US to help us to seek access to others who are chargesheeted to be placed before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court."

Headley had entered into a plea deal with the US under which US prosecutors "had agreed not to seek the death penalty against him and to not extradite him to Pakistan, India or Denmark for the offences to which he pleaded guilty".

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