India to Request Interrogation of Mumbai Terror Attack Suspect
Steve Herman | New Delhi 10 December 2009
India is expected to eventually request extradition of an American citizen charged in Chicago with alleged involvement in planning last year's terror attack on Mumbai. India is preparing its own criminal case against the 49-year-old man.
Indian government officials say they expect to complete an investigation in four to six weeks that will lead to charges being filed against David Coleman Headley. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a U.S. federal court to charges including conspiracy in last year's terror attack in Mumbai which killed more than 160 people.
Indian Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai says Headley's activities during five visits to India before the November, 2008, attack are being probed by the National Investigation Agency.
"Once we file the charge sheet we will definitely be seeking access both for interrogation and, at a subsequent stage, definitely his extradition," said Pillai.
Headley, the son of a Pakistani father and American mother, faces 12 criminal counts in the United States, including charges he conducted surveillance of the key targets struck by terrorists in Mumbai. He also faces charges of conspiracy to bomb locations in Denmark, in response to a Danish newspaper's publication in 2005 of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which offended many Muslims.
American prosecutors say Headley - also known by his original name, Daoud Gilani - reported to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, in Pakistan. That group has claimed responsibility for repeated attacks in India, for its occupation of Kashmir.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, testifying last Friday before a U.S. Senate committee, said Al-Qaida is providing the group "with targeting information and helping them in their plotting in India", hoping to provoke armed conflict between Pakistan and India.
A spokesman for the Indian External Affairs Ministry says the American case against Headley exposes a wider conspiracy in Pakistan and puts the onus on Islamabad to follow those leads to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|