Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative David Headley’s half-a-dozen surveillance trips to India ahead of the 26/11 attacks in November 2008 was a solo mission, without any assistance from an Indian-based sleeper cell.
As the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been pinning the locations he visited, has not been able to unearth any Lashkar sleeper cells that it had set out to look for, New Delhi is coming round to the view that Headley operated all by himself in India.
This, a government official said, had made the task of prosecuting him for waging a war against India a difficult task.
“We know through the FBI that he was identifying potential targets but months of investigations at every location visited by Headley… have not led investigators to any sleeper cell aware of the real reason for his visits,” said a government official who refused to be identified.
Headley’s plea bargain also does not refer to him making contact with a member of the terrorist outfit in India.
Another reason why the NIA hadn’t filed a chargesheet against Headley was that the government did not want to complicate the ongoing trial against Ajmal Amir Kasab and others.
India would charge Headley at an appropriate time, said Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday, without elaborating.