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26/11: India to seek access to Headley associate Rana
India has not been able to question Rana earlier given his rights as an accused under US laws.
New Delhi: India on January 31 said it will seek access to Tahawwur Rana, an accomplice of convicted terrorist David Headley from the US and maintained that its demand for their extradition "continues to stand" to take forward its legal processes in Mumbai terror strike cases.
Asserting that bringing to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 was work in progress which India intends to take to its logical conclusion, official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said the country will once again seek US government's support for access to Rana and also further access, as may be deemed necessary, to Headley.
He was asked about India's view on recent remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her global town hall that Headley has got the best possible sentence, indicating that he will not be extradited to India.
"Our objective has been that the processes initiated with the filing of charge sheet against nine individuals by the NIA special court regarding the conspiracy surrounding the Mumbai terror attacks is taken forward. And that is our goal."
"Two of these charge sheets are against Headley and Rana. The US has been helpful, thus far, within the limits of their own laws. They have enabled us access to Headley. Our officials have been able to spend seven days questioning him.
"However, we have not been able to question Rana earlier given his rights as an accused under US laws but now that he is a sentenced prisoner, we will once again seek US government's support for access to him and also further access as may be deemed necessary to Headley," the spokesperson said.
He also said India intends to work closely with the US to take the legal process forward and added that "our demand for extradition for Rana and Headley continues to stand." Though India had limited access to 52-year-old Pakistani-American Headley, who recced the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack targets for LeT, but it has so far not been able to quiz his Pakistani-Canadian businessman friend Rana.
While Headley has been given 35 years in prison by a Chicago court for his involvement in 26/11, a sentence that has left India disappointed, Rana has been given 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release for providing material support to LeT and for backing a "dastardly" plot to attack a Danish newspaper.
The official spokesperson also said India intends to continue to work with the US to seek access to others who may be of interest. "And we will use all bilateral mechanisms for this. We also wish to continue to work with the US to help us in securing access to all others who are chargesheeted to produce them before the NIA court.
"We will work on all available legal channels and avenues to ensure that the court case of the NIA proceeds and that the chargesheeted individuals are produced before the court," he said.
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