A Delhi court Saturday accepted charges against Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley and eight other Pakistanis for the 2008 Mumbai attack.
Those named in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) include Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and two officers of the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The court on March 13, the next hearing date, will discuss how to get Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawur Rana extradited from the US. The two are lodged in a US prison.
However, their extradition is unlikely because Headley has entered into a plea bargain with US authorities after confessing his role in terror plots, and according to this he cannot be deported to any country, including India, to stand trial.
Rana, who allegedly helped Headley in scheming the Mumbai terror attack, has been acquitted of the charges in the US but is facing a trial for a botched up strike in Denmark.
Also named in the charge sheet are alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Headley’s handler Sajid Majid, Al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Major Iqbal and Major Samir, the two believed to be working for the ISI, and Lashkar commander Abdul Rehman Hashmi.
The court has issued non-bailable warrant against Majid, Hashmi, Major Iqbal, Major Samir and Kashmiri — who are believed to be in Pakistan.
Lakhvi is in a Pakistani jail undergoing trial for the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people, including foreigners, when 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into the metropolis Nov 26, 2008, and went on a killing spree.
The NIA, India’s premier anti-terror probe organisation, probing the Lashkar-ISI conspiracy behind the attack, registered its first information report (FIR) Nov 11, 2009, after Headley was caught by US authorities at the Chicago airport.
The NIA said its probe has established role of Lashkar operatives and ISI officials who provided logistical support and training to the terrorists for attacking India.
The NIA last year in a US prison quizzed Headley, who had scouted Indian cities for planning terror attacks.
The probe agency has also traced his e-mails exchanged with his handlers i Pakistan, which form an important part of the NIA evidence.