Headley should face trial in India: BJP

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 08:57 hrs

Unhappy with the sentencing of 35 years in jail to Mumbai attack collaborator David Coleman Headley by a US court, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the terrorist should be brought back to India and tried here.

"It is for a crime committed in India and it is time Headley should be handed over to India for trial of the rest of the people killed [besides Americans]," said BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

"It is a partial judgement based on US laws. He should be handed over to India for trial," said Rudy.

"The conviction must take place here," he said.

India´s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid earlier said India would continue to demand extradition of Headley while Home Secretary RK Singh echoed the same and informed that Headley had not only done recce of Mumbai but other places also under the conspiracy.

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, who admitted to helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a U.S. court in Chicago on Thursday.

The sentence, delivered by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, was the maximum sought by federal prosecutors, who had not called for a death penalty as Headley had agreed to testify against his fellow Islamic militants.

Six Americans were also killed on the coordinated attacks in Mumbai now infamously referred to as 26/11 since it had began on the night of Nov 26 in 2008.

Headley had admitted to meticulous scouting missions that facilitated the assault by the 10 terrorists from the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

US federal prosecutors had sought a 30-35 jail term for the 52-year-old Headley, keeping in view his cooperation with the investigation.

The judge however made his distrust with Headley´s statements clear as he said, "Mr Headley is a terrorist...I don´t have any faith in Mr Headley when he says he´s a changed person and believes in the American way of life."

Judge Leinenweber said in his sentencing order Headley had showed no remorse for those killed in the attack. When asked, he said they were Indians and they deserved it.

The once small-time US drug dealer-turned-terrorist plotter had also testified against Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago businessman convicted of providing aid to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Gary Shapiro, the acting US Attorney in Chicago said on Tuesday that the 30-35 year sentence recommended by the prosecution for Headley was fair.

"While his criminal conduct was deplorable, the uniquely significant cooperation which he provided to the government´s efforts to combat terrorism supports the government´s recommendations," reports quoted him as saying in a memo to the federal court on Tuesday.

Besides the LeT, Headley was also found guilty of having colluded with terrorist outfits such as Al-Qaeda.

Headly, who had also pleaded guilty to conspiring to attack the office of a Denmark newspaper, was arrested in Chicago in November 2009.

The 52-year-old terrorist was spared a death sentence and also promised not to be extradited to India where he was likely to have faced a harsher trial.

The Pakistani terrorists who came by sea route had massacred people wantonly in Mumbai attacking luxury hotels, railways stations, hospitals and a Jewish centre till nine of the ten gunmen were killed by the Indian commandoes and cops after battling for more than two days of the siege by the gunmen.

The lone surviving gunman in the attack , Ajmal Kasab, was hanged by India last year.

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