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India to seek direct access to Headley

India will seek direct access to Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley under a bilateral agreement signed in 2005 and a communication is being sent to the US to allow its investigators to question him.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 00:34 IST

India will seek direct access to Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley under a bilateral agreement signed in 2005 and a communication is being sent to the US to allow its investigators to question him.

The draft letter was being examined by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram after it was prepared by Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and officials of National Investigation Agency (NIA), official sources said here.

The NIA has registered a case against Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for allegedly conspiring to wage a war against the country and under other sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The letter would be sent to the US through diplomatic channels for seeking direct access to Headley, wanted in India for conspiring with terror outfit Lashker-e-Tayyeba in carrying out the attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, they said.

Headley had pleaded gulity to the charges in a US court at Chicago.

India signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the US initial in 2001, which was revised in 2005.

The new provisions enhance the ability of the two nations to pursue common objective of law enforcement by putting in place a legal mechanism to enable them to provide to each other assistance in connection with the investigation, prosecution, prevention and suppression of crime.

The issue of access to Headley will be also raised by India at official level during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s four-day visit to the United States.

According to American law, the US Department of Justice will have to take permission from the Chicago court, which is hearing Headley’s case, about India’s request for direct access to him.