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NIA drops plea for warrant against Headley

Last updated on: July 15, 2010 20:22 IST
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The National Investigation Agency on Thursday filed a fresh plea in a Delhi court seeking non-bailable warrants against Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and five other terror suspects for plotting attacks in India, but withdrew a similar petition against David Headley and Tahawwur Rana, saying the United States was providing access to them.

Citing reasons for withdrawing the application seeking NBWs against the US-based terror suspects, the National Investigation Agency said, "We want to withdraw the plea against Headley and Rana as they have been duly interrogated by us. Moreover, they are in the custody of the US with whom India has an extradition treaty."

However, the agency filed a fresh application seeking issuance of NBWs against Saeed, Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and four others, including two Pakistani army officers, for plotting terror attacks in India.

In an apparent bid to maintain secrecy, the prosecutor parried a court question on specific roles played by the accused, saying, "We cannot discuss such issues in an open court. It is a sensitive case relating to national security. We are willing to provide a copy of the case diary to the court for perusal."

The case diary also contained the statements of Headley, recorded by the NIA at Illinois in the US, he said.

The prosecutor cited various Supreme Court judgments including a verdict on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar before District and Sessions Judge S P Garg to buttress his arguments that NBWs could be issued against those accused who were living in a country with which India didn't have an extradition treaty.

"This case is not being filed for an academic purpose. The NIA is serious and wants RCN issued against them so that they could be arrested if they come out of Pakistan," he said.

The court took a copy of the case diary in its records to ascertain specific roles of the accused and fixed the matter for further proceedings on July 20.

Besides Headley and Rana, now in the custody of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, the NIA has made Lakhvi, Saeed, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali of Pakistani army, Sajid Mir and Abdul Rehman accused in an FIR lodged on November 11 last year.

They have been booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, dealing with waging war against the government of India, conspiracy and procuring arms and ammunition. 
The NIA, in the FIR, mentioned the inputs provided by the FBI, saying a detailed probe was required to unravel the entire conspiracy hatched by Headley and others to carry out terror attacks in the country.

A team of the probe agency was recently accompanied by a magistrate to Illinois to record the testimony of Headley.

Headley and Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, had come in contact with LeT and Harkat-ul-Jihadi operatives in September 2006 for conspiring to carry out terror attacks in New Delhi and other places in India, the NIA said.

Besides his various trips to India, Headley, in the guise of an immigration law consultant, had also come to Delhi from Abu Dhabi on February 7 last year and went back via Mumbai by an Ethihad flight after nearly ten days, the NIA said.

The Pakistan-based handlers were in constant touch with Headley and Rana to launch terror attacks in India, it said, adding that Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, who hailed from Lahore and Karachi respectively, belong to the Pakistan army.

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