Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Coleman Headley was on Wednesday made an accused in the 26/11 terror attacks case after a local court allowed a plea of Mumbai police and directed that he be produced before it via video-conferencing on December 10.
“Your exhibit (application) is allowed,” said judge GA Sanap while he issued summons for Headley.
“Issue summons to Headley through US District Court for North eastern district of Illinois, USA for appearance before this court on December 10,” the judge directed.
Headley reportedly visited India five times between 2006 and 2008, drew maps, took video footage and scouted several targets for the attacks including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House.
His reconnaissance provided vital information for the 10 LeT terrorists and their handlers, who launched the attack on November 26, 2008 in which 166 persons were killed.
The Mumbai police had on October 8 moved an application before the court saying that Headley (who is currently serving 35 years in an American prison for his role in the terror attacks) deserves to be tried by this (Mumbai) court together with 26/11 key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the case as both of them are conspirators and abettors behind the dastardly strikes.
Jundal is facing trial for his alleged role in the attacks, which held the city to ransom for three days.
Speaking to PTI, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, “David Headley has been joined as an accused along with Abu Jundal (in the 26/11 case) and the court has taken cognisance of offences against Headley.”
Nikam also said that the charge sheet filed against Jundal carves out the role of Headley and hence no separate charge sheet was needed against the latter.
Earlier this month, during a hearing the court had sought to know why the Mumbai police did not launch an investigation after the US took Headley’s custody. The court had also said that the judgment of the foreign court only has ‘persuasive value’ and it cannot be relied upon as evidence.
Nikam had then told the court that Headley had not been tried under Indian law for conspiracy in the 26/11 attacks.
Nikam had said that an American court is not competent to try offences under Indian Penal Code. The charges for which Headley has been convicted by the US court and the charges Mumbai police are pursuing against him are entirely different.
The police had pleaded that the (Mumbai) court may kindly issue a Letter of Request to US District court of Illinois to produce Headley before it through video-conferencing. The police had prayed that court may proceed against Headley after taking cognizance of the offences committed by him.
In the application, the Mumbai police said that from the judgement passed by the US court against Headley, it was clear that he was a member of LeT and he had played an active role in the criminal conspiracy in the terror attack.
The application also said that Headley had entered into a plea agreement with US in 2010 and thereby willingly and voluntarily agreed that he had conspired.
It is evident, the police had said, that Headley has committed the offences of conspiring with LeT for committing illegal acts in India; waging war against the government of India and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
He has also been accused of intentionally aiding and abetting the LeT in Pakistan for committing illegal acts in Mumbai, mischief by fire with intent to destroy Hotel Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House, offences under Explosives Act and Explosives Substances Act as also under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
A native of Beed district of Maharashtra, Jundal was interrogated after he was brought here from Delhi where he had been arrested following his deportation from Saudi Arabia in June 2012. The charge sheet has details about Jundal’s training in Pakistan, preparations ahead of 26/11, LeT hierarchy, the precise role played by those involved and other details.
According to Jundal’s confession, LeT training camps enjoyed full support from local, federal police and paramilitary organisations in Pakistan.
As per the charge sheet, after fleeing Maharashtra, Jundal entered Bangladesh in May 2006, where he was received by an ISI agent. He then used a boarding pass issued in a fictitious name to take a PIA flight to Pakistan.
In Maharashtra, Jundal is also accused of involvement in Aurangabad arms haul case, 2010 German Bakery blast case in Pune, and Nashik police academy attack conspiracy case. In the 26/11 case, lone Pakistani gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was caught alive and later tried in court and executed on November 21, 2012.
( Source – PTI )