India to send magistrate to US to record Headley's statement

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 26, 2010 19:20 hrs

New Delhi: With hopes of David Headley's extradition receding, India has decided to send a magistrate to the US to record his statement which would be admissible as evidence in a court here.

A request letter for access to Headley, Lashkar-e Taiba operative who has admitted his role in Mumbai attacks, would be sent by Home Ministry next week to the US Department of Justice, official sources said on Friday.

The magistrate will be sent when the US grants permission for direct access to Headley to record his statement under CrPC 164, which is admissible in an Indian court of law, the sources said.

Headley names Pakistani Army officers involved in 26/11

The statement would be crucial when a chargesheet is filed against Headley in Mumbai.

Besides the magistrate, the team will also comprise lawyers and officials of Mumbai Police and NIA, who will question the 49-year old Pakistani-American, who has admitted to plotting the audacious Mumbai terror attack.

As Headley's extradition appeared difficult, India was immediately focussing on getting direct access to him to know details about the terror plot.

In the letter, which is being finalised by Home Minister P Chidambaram and top officials, the Ministry will tell the American authorities that a team of Indian investigators was ready and it could visit the US once a confirmation is given.

US is bound by Extradition Treaty, says Solicitor General

Sources said the NIA, probing the case, will file the chargesheet against him only after having a direct access to him.

Under the plea bargain, India can have access to the terrorist by deposition, video conferencing or through Letters Rogatory. Sources said India will like to explore all the three.

Headley had last week pleaded guilty to all the 12 terror charges of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons and providing material support to foreign terrorist plots and Pakistan-based LeT besides aiding and abetting the murder of six US citizens in the 26/11 attacks

that killed 166 people. (MORE)

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