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Oppn seeks clarity on Headley issue from Centre

December 17, 2009 13:07 IST

Opposition parties, comprising of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Left and the Samajwadi Party, sought a statement from the government on Thursday on the cooperation extended by the US in investigating the role of terror suspect David Coleman Headley in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely raised the issue as soon as the House met for the day saying he had given a notice for suspension of the Question Hour to seek a response of the government on the Headley affair.

The case, he said, has become curious by the day with reports of the Pakistani-origin terror suspect being a 'double agent' and the disappearance and reappearance of the documents he furnished to obtain visa to travel to India.

Even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation had records of Headley prior to 26/11, his name cropped up as one of the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attacks only when he landed in the FBI lap a year later, he said.

Jaitely wanted the government to explain what progress the National Investigating Agency had made on the Headley case and why his name did not figure in the list of suspects till the FBI caught him recently.

He also wanted the government to explain the extent of cooperation from the FBI and on whose behalf Headley was acting.

Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India-Marxist said the FBI had full knowledge of the antecedents of Headley and wanted to know the extent of cooperation by the US agency, particularly in light of the foreign secretary's statement that the US agency was extending full cooperation while the home ministry expressing some concern.

"Is there any difference of perception within the government -- between the external affairs ministry and the home ministry," she asked, demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take the House into confidence on the issue.

Amar Singh of the SP wanted to know why the US did not share information on Headley previously and asked the prime minister to explain if the US was "cooperating or misleading".

The prime minister was present in the House at that time.

RS Chairman Hamid Ansari said the government would respond at an appropriate time.
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