The statement by US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has been a very encouraging one for Indian investigating agencies probing the David Headley case He had said yesterday that they would look into it and also consider further access to Headley if the need be.
This is a very encouraging statement for India, since somewhere down the line during the course of the Headley trial, Indian agencies felt a bit let down when he suddenly went soft on the ISI. The trial had begun with a lot of promise and during the first half Headley had spoken considerably about the ISI. However in the second half he appeared to have gone soft on the ISI and said that the top management never knew about the attack.
Officers who interrogated Headley the last time say that there was not a lot of new information that came out. This was largely due to the plea bargaining that Headley had entered into and this actually gave him the security not to divulge more than what he had already said at first. Thanks to this legal issue, there were many questions that remained unanswered and there was not much scope to ask further questions.
However if at all we do manage to get access to him the second time, the questioning would be slightly different. We would be armed with his testimony before the court and also the verdict of the court at Chicago. This would give the Indian investigating agencies more room to interrogate Headley since there will be some fresh questions that would be need to be asked.
The point that India is looking to make in this case is the ISI angle to the case. Although Headley did the turn around and said only a select few of the ISI were involved in this attack. However India has maintained that this attack was completely sponsored by the establishment. The new angle would also be the Ilyas Kashmiri angle which is today being spoken about in the Pakistani media. Kashmiri himself had made a claim to the Late Salim Shehzad that it was the Al-Qaeda which planned the attack and was later hijacked by the ISI. It is a well known fact that David Headley was closely associated with Kashmiri and they did share a lot during the time of the Mickey Mouse project.
India would look to get more information on this aspect and whether Headley and Kashmiri had discussed anything about the 26/11 plot. This would be a very interesting aspect since if Indian agencies do manage to confirm this through Headley then the entire case would have a new dimension. This would not only attribute the attack to the Al-Qaeda but would nail the ISI which eventually cleared or hijacked the attack.
India does hope that the second round of interrogation, if at all granted access would be a more productive one. We are yet to ascertain whose help Headley had taken locally to go about his work. This continues to remain a dark part of the investigation since it is impossible that only he and Rana may have gone about this job all by themselves, sources also said.