NIA told to present Headley on March 13
A Delhi court on Saturday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to produce on March 13 Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley, his accomplice Tahawwur Rana, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for carrying out terror attacks in India. Mumbai and afterdelhi Updated: Feb 19, 2012 02:03 IST
A Delhi court on Saturday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to produce on March 13 Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley, his accomplice Tahawwur Rana, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for carrying out terror attacks in India.
On November 26, 2008, Pakistan-based Lashkar operatives launched more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai that left 164 dead and 308 wounded. Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker arrested alive, later claimed that the mission had the support of Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI.
Special NIA judge HS Sharma also issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali of the Pakistan army, al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley's handler Sajid Malik and former Pakistan army officer Abdul Rehman Hashmi.According to the NIA charge-sheet, Headley and Rana were placed in a position where they could provide tactical, material and financial support for attacks in India and other places. While both are in custody in the US, the NIA has only a limited access to Headley, who entered into a plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence and extradition to India. All other accused are reportedly in Pakistan.
The court has issued the process to procure the presence of the accused for which the NIA will now need the assistance of the external affairs ministry.
The order was issued after the judge took cognisance of the NIA chargesheet filed on December 24 in view of "facts contained in the report (chargesheet)… and the documents placed on record".
An NIA official said, "The NIA could have moved for extradition of Headley and Rana even after filing the chargesheet. But with the special court taking cognisance of the chargesheet, our case for extradition gets strengthened."
The court also allowed the NIA's plea to issue a letter of request to the Kingdom of Morocco for judicial assistance. "Without having the assistance of the court or the authority in the Kingdom of Morocco, it would not be possible for the investigating agency to collect evidence against the accused," the court said.
The court said the letter would be handed over to the NIA on February 29 to the Moroccan authorities to probe the role of Headley's second wife, Faiza Outalha, in the 26/11 attacks and ascertain her whereabouts.
According to the NIA, Outalha is from Morocco and visited India in April 2007 and June, July and August 2008.