India on Thursday said it was waiting for the statement of Mumbai terror suspect David Coleman Headley in a Chicago court amid reports that he would change his plea to guilty to get a lighter sentence than the death penalty.
"We are waiting for Headley's statement," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters in New Delhi, adding that India was closely watching developments in the Headley case.
Krishna, however, skirted a question on whether India will seek the extradition of Headley, accused of providing support to the 26/11 terrorists. "The home ministry will be in a better position to tell you about it," was all that Krishna would say.
Headley, a Pakistani American resident of Chicago, faces six counts of conspiracy involving bombing of public places in India, murdering and maiming people in India and abroad and providing logistical support to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba. He also faces six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of six citizens in India.
A US court said Wednesday that Headley was scheduled for a plea-bargaining hearing Thursday before US District Judge Harry Leinenweber.
Headley, also accused of plotting attacks against a Danish newspaper, originally pleaded not guilty to 12 charges in connection with attacks in India. FBI agents in Chicago arrested the 49-year-old Lashkar-e-Taiba operative last October while trying to board a plane for Philadelphia.
If Headley pleads guilty, it would affirm the suspicions of many in the security establishment in India that Headley was a double agent.