India Will Be ‘Satisfied’ if Headley Gets Lifer, Says Pillai

Union Home Secretary GK Pillai has said that India will be ‘satisfied’ if Pakistani-born American national David Coleman Headley, who has pleaded guilty in a Chicago court to his involvement in 26/11 attacks, is sentenced to life imprisonment, reported PTI.

“The US Attorney General has advised a sentence of life imprisonment. If he gets a sentence of life imprisonment, I don’t think government of India will be unsatisfied,” he was quoted as saying.

He said that government would be working out in next weeks the other details pertaining to accessibility to Headley for interrogation and to giving testimony, said report.

“All that we know is that he has pleaded guilty to all 12 counts which were charged against him. In one sense, that is good because that would ensure that he gets major sentencing,” Pillai was quoted as saying in the first official reaction after Headley pleaded guilty.

He said that it was to be seen if foreign judicial testimony could be allowed, said reports.

“We will have to work out details with the United States government agencies and that is a matter of detail to be worked out in coming weeks after his sentencing is over,” he was quoted as saying.

In response to a query regarding Headley’s interrogation by Indian agencies, Pillai was quoted as saying: “What I understand…even from the TV channel showing discussion with his (Headley’s) lawyer that he would be available for questioning by Indian agencies. So we have to work out details. At this moment it would be speculation.”

Indian investigators would be able to directly quiz Headley now after his confession in the court. The US, which so far refused access to Headley for questioning, said that he agreed to ‘fully and truthfully’ participate in this process which has to be undertaken only on US soil.

“When directed by the US Attorney’s Office, Headley must fully and truthfully participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering intelligence or national security information,” the US Department of Justice has said in a statement, report said.

“Headley further agrees that, when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the United States by way of deposition, video-conferencing or letters rogatory,” the statement said.

Following the 30-minute hearing, Headley’s counsel John Theis told reporters, “he has agreed to allow himself to be interviewed by foreign governments in this country as part of the agreement.”

“Headley has agreed to not only continue his cooperation with the government, which he has been doing since October, but also to make himself available for interviews by other governments in this country,” Headley’s attorney Theis was quoted as saying.

When asked, if this means that Indian investigators could come to US and talk to Headley, even about the Mumbai attacks, Theis was quoted as saying, “Yes. If he refuses to talk to foreign governments here, it would mean a violation of the plea agreement.”

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