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Headley could be 'double agent' for US agencies, Lashkar

Source: PTI
December 15, 2009 20:18 IST
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Indications that US terror suspect David Headley could have been a "double agent" for American agencies and Pakistan-based outfits have become clearer for Indian investigators with mounting evidence coming there way.

Top official sources said that there is a strong suspicion that US agency Central Intelligence Agency knew about Headley's link with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba one year before the Mumbai attacks, but did not convey it even when he was freely travelling across India.

The investigators believe the US agencies kept away the information from India and never allowed the Pakistani-origin Headley to get "exposed".

The 39-year old terror suspect, arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his role in Mumbai attacks, had visited India in March 2009 -- four months after Mumbai attack carried out by the LeT – but the FBI still did not inform India that Headley was a LeT operative, apparently fearing that he could be arrested in India.

The sources said that they apprehended that if Headley got less punishment in court then India would have a reasonable ground to believe that Headley was a US agent and also working for the LeT.

It could also add credence to the belief that there was a plea bargain between Headley and US agencies.

Sources said that if Headley got a jail term of just two to four years then India would press for his extradition after he serves his sentence.

During his multiple visits to India, Headley had spent a lot of money running into lakhs of rupees through credit cards issued by American banks and in fake Indian currency, believed to have been brought from Pakistan.

Indian investigators were now trying to find out who had paid his credit card bills in the American banks.

The sources said the US agencies gave Indian authorities two inputs about possible terror attack before 26/ 11 -- in September and October 2008. On both the occasions, the LeT aborted their missions at the last minute.

During their discussions, FBI officials told Indian investigators that Headley does not want to be questioned by Indian investigators, raising suspicion that the US agency does want him to be questioned by India.

Sources said now the Indian investigators will be able to question Headley only after filing a chargesheet against him in connection with Mumbai attack case.

About Headley's accomplice, Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, sources said during his visit to Mumbai he did lots of shopping -- sarees, pants, shirts -- but left behind everything.
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