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India confident of meeting Headley
Published on 24 Mar. 2010 11:57 PM IST
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India is getting ready to question David Headley, undeterred by US ambassador Timothy Roemer’s remark that no decision has been taken on giving New Delhi direct access to the Pakistani American terror suspect, a home ministry official said Wednesday. “The government will go by what US Attorney General Eric Holder told Home Minister (P. Chidambaram over the phone). He (Holder) is the top boss of the justice department in the US government,” the official told IANS.
He said India would soon ask the US authorities for specific dates to question Headly. “The government has already started preparations to form a team (to be sent to the US). The ambassador’s remark has not stopped that,” the official said.
Roemer Tuesday signalled a change in the US stance over giving India access to Headley, who is in US custody and has confessed to his role in the Mumbai terror attack of November 2008 that killed 166 people. “No decision on direct access for India to David Headley has been made,” the ambassador said.
In a snub to the American envoy, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said late Tuesday: “I think we are not taking cognizance of the ambassador’s remarks. “We are getting ready with our home work and would be taking it up with the US government for mutually acceptable dates for the visit of the team (of investigators to question Headley). We have no doubt whatsoever that the team would be going shortly,” Pillai told a news channel.
Headley will be spared the death sentence and will not be extradited to India after having entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors. Two days after Headley’s confession, the US attorney general, also head of the Department of Justice, telephoned Chidambaram following which the home minister said: “It is my understanding that India would be able to obtain access to Headley to question him in a properly constituted judicial proceeding. Such a judicial proceeding could be either pre-trial or during an inquiry or trial.”
Roemer’s remark created a stir, with opposition parties targeting the government over the US flipflop.

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