More evidence, more delays and the Headley case


The Home Ministry a couple of days back informed that the probe regarding David Headley has been completed. However there continues to be a slight delay where the filing of the chargesheet is concerned.

Sources informed that the case of David Headley is quite an easy one when compared to the Tawwahur Rana case. Headley’s case largely rests on the confession made by him and this has helped investigating agencies to build up a strong case. However today the NIA is waiting for some more documents from the United States of America and only once that reaches them will the chargesheet be filed.

A source in the NIA said that the emails and other transcripts used by Headley are with them. However the biggest problem in order to make it a water tight case would be the voice samples which unfortunately are in Pakistan. It is not so much of an issue to file the chargesheet against Headley since the case against him individually is a water tight one. The issue remains the others especially those in the Pakistan establishment who were connected with Headley and this is where the reliance on the other countries come into the picture.

The NIA says that Pakistan has agreed in principle to hand over the voice samples. The case to this effect is in court and a lot would depend on that. It is to be seen how much an influence the ISI would have on the judicial procedures, because the agency would try its best to avoid these voice samples getting out Pakistan since the entire focus would be on them. The US will however play a vital role in this exercise and it is to be seen whether they would lead this exercise to persuade Pakistan to hand over the voice samples to India. The NIA says that it is however not too hopeful that it would get the voice samples, but they would continue to make efforts.

The NIA has with it all the details regarding the trips made by Headley to India. The persons who he met with and those who he had sought help from. However the evidence has not been too forthcoming on any of the local contacts that Headley had been in touch with and the fact of the matter is that no one really knew what he was up to. There were many persons with whom Headley had interacted in India, but during the trial all these persons will be turned into witnesses who would in turn have to testify against Headley.

There is a confession by Headley in which he speaks about his India tour. The issue however is that the Indian law is a bit linient towards persons who have confessed to their crime. However this would not be sufficient for the NIA since they would want a harsh order against him. Although it would not be possible to sentence him since he has a plea bargain not to be shifted out of the US, they would still like to make a strong statement on this case since this is really their first Big case.

There are aspects of Headley’s confession which do not make the role of the Pakistani establishment very clear. In fact he has been edgy and chosen to avoid a lot of things. This is where the real role of the NIA began and they started to build up their own case with regard to Headley’s association with the Pakistani establishment. While bringing out this aspect during the trial in India, the court would realise that Headley’s confession reeks in malafide and the order against him would be strong.

In this regard India does find the need to wait for more evidence from the US and if possible from Pakistan. They have sent letters to Pakistan, but at the end of it would request the US to pressurise it to get them that bit of evidence regarding the voice samples which is very crucial to the case.

NIA sources say that unless and until there is clarity regarding this aspect they would not want to go ahead with the chargesheet. We want one final chargesheet and do not want to file one immediately and then go in for an additional one.

Another issue that the NIA has been discussing is that they would want the Rana and the Headley case to be part of the same chargesheet. Their cases are inter connected and their offenses committed in India are inter-linked and it is not as though both have been on separate assignments.

The NIA says where Rana is concerned the documents are expected to take a while longer. Moreover they have not managed to get access to him as yet and that would be possible only once his appeal is complete. Rana has only played the role of a second fiddle to Headley. Although we would prefer to file the chargesheet against the two of them together, we would still take a final call on that depending on how long the Rana case takes. If we get the remainder of the Headley documents early and find that the Rana case is taking too long then we may just go ahead with the chargesheet and the Rana aspect could be added in the additional chargesheet attached to the main one.

As of now the case that has been booked against Headley is the one pertaining to waging a war against the country. He has already pleaded guilty on 12 charges. However the case against Rana on conspiracy was dismissed and an appeal is on at the moment.

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Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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