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FBI says two serving Pak officers had ties with Headley

By Sheela Bhatt
Last updated on: December 10, 2009 14:24 IST
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According to a senior source in the Union home ministry, Federal Bureau of Investigation officers who visited New Delhi shared vital information about two Pakistani serving army officers connected to Lashkar-a-Tayiba operative David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American arrested in Chicago in October, now accused of criminal conspiracy in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The FBI officers are in Pakistan for further inquiry into the matter. The Pakistan officers who had been laisoning with Headley are army majors, the FBI officers told their Indian counterparts during the briefing.

FBI officers have extensively shared information with the Indian counterparts about the role of Headley and his associate Tahawwur Rana (also picked up in Chicago) in the Mumbai attacks.

However, if the information FBI has on Headley is correct then the Pakistani establishment will have a lot to answer to US and India. Headley has been charged on 12 terror-related counts and one of the counts is pertaining to six US citizens who were killed during the 26/11 attacks.

A home ministry source suggests that the information given by Headley raises serious questions about the role of serving officers of the Pakistan army in the Mumbai attacks. For long, Indian investigators have believed that such a huge and cold-blooded operation could not be planned and executed with such perfection without the backing of the Pakistani military establishment.

Interestingly, the FBI has told India that they are still 'negotiating' with Headley.

If the FBI is able to establish Pakistan army's role in the Mumbai attacks then it will be the game changer for diplomacy over the attacks.  

However, the home ministry source said that Pakistan is playing tough. They have so far not allowed US agents access to Lashkar mastermind Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi. It is unlikely that they would co-operate in case of serving officers.

When asked why the IB could not track Headley or Rana, a source dealing with internal security said, "We never doubted any US citizen of having terror links."

Now he says after learning about Headley and his movements in and out of India, "There could be many Headleys in India."

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi