David Coleman Headley, the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative arrested in the US, may soon end up a co-accused in the 26/11 case with the sole surviving terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab.
A senior official in the Union government said on Tuesday that in a month or two the Mumbai police will file a chargesheet against Headley, who in March 2008 went on boat rides to identify landing sites for the 10 Pakistani terrorists who stormed the city on November 26, 2008.
An official, who requested anonymity, said the supplementary charge sheet would draw upon the findings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency and Mumbai police.
Indian investigators want to file the charge sheet after getting access to Headley, the official said. “Later, we can also look at his extradition,” he added.
“We would like to have access to interrogate these accused [Headley and Tahawwur Rana] persons,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said to a query if India would seek Headley’s extradition.
“If any such evidence is provided and after investigating it further we find him [Headley] involved, we will file a supplementary charge sheet,” said a Mumbai crime branch officer, who was part of investigating team, requesting anonymity. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam refused to comment.
If the Mumbai police file the charge sheet, Headley will be a co-accused with Kasab and Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Sheikh, the duo who did recces and mapped the targets.
India’s decision to indict Headley comes a day after the FBI made his involvement in the Mumbai attacks the core of its charge sheet filed in a US court. Headley could face the death sentence if convicted.
Headley has to respond to the charges in a Chicago court on Wednesday. His lawyer John Theis has not dismissed India’s chances of getting Headley extradited. Asked if he would challenge an extradition attempt, Theis said: “I can’t speculate.”
(Inputs from Anirudh Bhattacharyya in Washington)