Any leniency to Headley a matter of concern: India | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Any leniency to Headley a matter of concern: India

delhi Updated: Mar 17, 2010 20:59 IST

Concerned over reports that Mumbai terror suspect David Headley may enter into a plea bargain with prosecutors in Chicago, Indian security establishment feels that it would lend credence to suspicions that he may have been working for the Americans.

Indian officials, who have been watching the progress in the case at Chicago in US, is somewhat worried about reports
emanating from there today that Pakistani-American Headley would be pleading guilty in an attempt to get lighter sentence.

Headley, who has been charged with hatching conspiracy in the 2008 Mumbai attacks by the FBI, has sought plea bargain under American laws, a senior government official said.

The laws there provide for agreement between federal prosecutors and individuals under criminal investigation which permit them to give the government information about crimes with some assurances that they will be protected against prosecution.

The official said any lenient sentence now will "confirm" that Headley, who was arrested on October three last for his links with Lashker-e-Taiba, was an American agent.

A lenient sentence is a matter of concern for India and may give credence to the suspicion that he was an American agent, the official said, adding if the sentence was something like 100 years, then there was no problem.

India has been trying to get access to 49-year-old Headley, who has been charged with conducting recee of installations attacked by Lashker terrorists in 26/11 in Mumbai.

Headley had earlier pleaded not guilty to the 12-count superseding indictment filed against him on January 14 but now
moved for a "change of plea" which will be heard by US District Judge Harry Leinenweber tomorrow.

The American terror suspect had got away with a lesser sentence after he was arrested in 1998 for smuggling heroin into the US from Pakistan as he cooperated with the investigation in the case.

He was sentenced to less than two years in prison and thereafter went to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.