India has begun fresh efforts to get custody of Mumbai terror attacks mastermind David Headley for a year, with a request during the Indo-US Homeland Security dialogue in Washington on May 20-22. Indian interlocutors also requested the US to extradite Headley’s accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana to unravel the mystery behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The fresh request follows the earlier refusal by the US authorities to extradite Headley. “The US interlocutors assured us that they would actively consider the request,” a senior Ministry of Home Affairs official said.
The US, which has been warming up to India in its fight against terror, also assured that it would positively consider the request to extradite Rana, who along with Headley conducted a recce of the 26/11 targets for Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Indian officials have already spoken to Headley in US custody, but wanted to interrogate him for more details. Following Delhi’s efforts to gain access to the Mumbai attacks mastermind, the US may accede to it for a second time. “So far, the US has not given any opportunity to question Rana. Indian investigators believe that if they quiz him, much hidden information could come into light as he was a close associate of David Headley.”
Headley had pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges, including his involvement in the November 2008 attacks that claimed 166 lives. He had, however, entered into plea bargain with the US authorities that makes his extradition to India difficult.
While Rana was sentenced to 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release, he was convicted of providing material support to LeT and for backing plot to attack a Danish newspaper, but not convicted for the Mumbai terror attack despite being a close associate of Headley.