New Delhi: Dismissing suggestions of any setback for India in the plea bargain between 26/11 accused David Headley and the US government, the Congress party on Friday said the life sentence likely to be awarded to him is not a light punishment.
The party at the same said the government's stand, that India has to have full access to him, still stands.
"It should bring to an end speculation and needless hypothesising on the issue. It is now clear that a fairly serious sentence of life imprisonment is likely to be imposed on Headley.
"It is true that he could have been sentenced to death. But I don't think it can be said that he has got off too lightly as even life imprisonment is not that light a punishment," Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here.
Maintaining that the government's "straight and strong" demand from the beginning that India has to have full access to Headley still stands, Singhvi said he has no doubt that the government "will not diminish the vigour and strength of their demand on this count".
Asked whether it is not a setback that the extradition of Headley, a Pakistani-American, to India has now been ruled out, the Congress leader said, "I do not consider it a setback at all...."
Singhvi said it is important that each country cooperates in the process of access in the joint fight against terrorism.