India team to grill Chicago terror suspect

June 3, 2010 1:43:00 PM PDT
Investigators from India's version of the FBI will meet for the first time Friday with Chicago terror suspect David Coleman Headley. According to India's NDTV, authorities will question Headley in Chicago where the 49-year old Pakistani-American has been held at the downtown Metro Correctional Center.

Asked about the report that a team from India's National Investigating Agency (NIA) arrived in Chicago on Thursday to interrogate Headley, a government spokesman declined to discuss the matter. "No comment," said spokesman Randall Samborn.

While the Headley case has received moderate attention in the U.S., in India the story has been major news since last September when he was arrested by the FBI in Chicago. Headley this year pleaded guilty to helping plot and plan the devastating terror attack on Mumbai that commenced November 26, 2008. The synchronized assault on hotels and civic institutions by a heavily armed band of Pakistani terrorists was tantamount to India's 9/11. Indeed, the shorthand reference to the attack in India is 26/11.

In addition to taking questions about the Mumbai massacre, Headley will also be quizzed on other attacks against public places including the Pune blast in February of this year when 17 people died at a German bakery.

"Sources in India said the four-member team has prepared questions about his stay in the country especially during March 2009, his last visit to India," stated the NDTV report. "The travel details of Headley are being sought mainly as investigators believe that this visit may have been to finalize the synchronized terror strikes on Jewish houses located in five cities."

Headley, born Daood Giliani to an American mother and Pakistani father, cut a plea deal with prosecutors after he was faced with incriminating audio and video surveillance. He admitted having worked with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to carry out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. In return for Headley's guilty plea, he escaped trial, the death penalty and extradition to India.

The agreement that allows interrogation by Indian authorities was the best opportunity that overseas governments had to seek a measure of justice against Headley.

According to his 36-page plea agreement, Headley promises that " he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US by way of deposition, video conferencing or letters. Defendant agrees to the postponement of his sentencing until after the conclusion of his interrogation."


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