India seeks “temporary” access to Headley, Rana for Mumbai attacks probe

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According to Indian media reports, the country on Sunday asked the United States (US) to “temporarily” hand over David Headley for a year and to extradite his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana for more information about the conspiracy behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

The fresh efforts towards “temporary” access to Headley were made after the US expressed its inability to extradite him. The request was made during the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue held in Washington between May 20 and 22.

“The US interlocutors assured us that they would actively consider the request,” said a top Indian official who participated in the meeting.

Washington also assured New Delhi that it would positively consider the request to extradite Headley’s friend Rana, who helped Headley in planning the 26/11 targets for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

While the US granted India access to Headley once, so far, no opportunity to question Rana had been provided, who was sentenced by an American court for his involvement in a terror plot in Denmark.

Indian investigators believe that if they could quiz Rana, valuable hidden information could be retrieved as he was close to Headley.

51-year-old Headley had pled guilty to 12 terrorism charges, including his involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives. He had entered into a plea bargain with US authorities, while a US court had sentenced 52-year-old Rana to 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release.

Rana was convicted for providing material support to LeT and for backing a plot to attack a Danish newspaper. However, he was not convicted for the Mumbai terror attacks despite being a close associate of Headley.