India will soon send answers to the 51 questions posed by Pakistan about 26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused David Coleman Headley, now in custody in the United States, a home ministry official said on Wednesday.
"The Pakistani questions appear to be an attempt to divert attention and to delay the legal proceedings against Headley's associate (and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba founder) Hafiz Saeed in the Mumbai terror trial (that is currently underway in Pakistan)," the official, who declined to be identified said.
He said the answers to most of the questions raised are already with Pakistan as it had been provided this information in the interrogation report of Headley by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
"Still, India will be providing a reply," the official said.
According to sources, Home Minister P Chidambaram, who had examined the Pakistani questionnaire, had directed that it be replied to.
Sources said Pakistan's interior ministry sent a note to its Indian counterpart posing 51 questions relating to Headley and Saeed and their role in planning the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai attack that claimed the lives of more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners.
The questions also relate to Headley's nine trips to India and details about the people whom he met.
The note asks whether the Indian government knew about Headley's visits and whether he was under surveillance at the time. It also seeks basic information like Headley's parentage, which is readily available with Pakistan, the official said.
The Pakistani note is in response to India's 10 dossiers, including three specifically relating to Saeed, about the involvement of Pakistani nationals in the Mumbai attack.
The official said that the Pakistani questions "lacked purpose" as Pakistan has allowed Saeed to continue with his anti-India tirade.
Pakistani American Headley has, in a plea bargain with US authorities, admitted to scouting for the LeT ahead of the Mumbai attack.
Seven LeT operatives, including its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and communications specialist Zarar Shah are currently being tried in Pakistan for their alleged role in the Mumbai attack.