NEW DELHI: An Indian court has approved giving conditional pardon to David Headley amid reports that he has offered to become approver in the Mumbai terror case in which India has named him along with Pakistani extremists, The Hindu said on Thursday.
“Former FBI agent and Lashkar operative David Headley was offered a conditional pardon by a sessions court in Mumbai. Headley will now be examined as prosecution witness,” the paper said.
Earlier on Thursday, he offered to be an approver in the 26/11 case before a sessions court in Mumbai.
“Pardon was tendered on the condition that he will truthfully disclose all facts related to the conspiracy behind the attacks and his role and the role of other participants. He would also have to answer all the questions of the prosecution related to conspiracy,” the paper said.
Take a look: Lashkar asked Headley to change his name: memoirs
He will depose before Mumbai court as prosecution witness on February 8 via video conferencing.
Headley was produced before Special Judge G.A. Sanap via video conferencing from an undisclosed location in the US.
“I have revealed the charging documents filed against me in this (Mumbai) court. It charges me with the same conduct for which I was charged in the US. I plead guilty in the past to the charges in the US and I admitted I was a participant in these charges. I accepted responsibility for my role in those offences in my plea agreement. I have also agreed to make myself available as a witness in this court. I appear here ready to answer questions regarding these events if I receive a pardon from this court. That’s all. Thank you,” Headley said in a statement he made to the court.
Judge Sanap told Headley that following his appearance in court through video conferencing, the court had taken his custody, according to The Hindu report.
Reading out the charges against Headley, the court cited offences under IPC, including waging war against the government of India, conspiracy to wage war and commit murder of innocents in Mumbai, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other acts.
Lashkar-e-Taiba’s alleged operative Abu Jundal who is facing trial in the case was also produced before the court via video conferencing.
On the request of special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam the court was adjourned for half an hour.
Mr Nikam said he would have to discuss about Headley’s proposal to become an approver with the investigation officers.
Judge Sanap, who is currently presiding over the trial of Lashkar operative Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the 26/11 case, passed the order on November 18, to make Headley an accused in the case, according to Indian reports.
Headley, who was arrested by the US authorities, confessed to them about his role in the 26/11 attacks in 2010. In 2013, a US court sentenced him to 35 years’ imprisonment for a dozen federal terrorism crimes related to his role in the Mumbai attacks.
Headley is charged with conducting reconnaissance of target locations. Posing as an American, he made five extended trips to Mumbai — in September 2006, February and September 2007, and April and July 2008 — each time making videotapes of various potential targets, including those attacked in November 2008. After these trips he travelled to Pakistan to meet Lashkar members and hand over his surveillance material.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2015