March 20, 2010
(Press Information Bureau)
The US Attorney General yesterday discussed with the Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram various aspects relating to the plea agreement between Headley and the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. In a statement issued here today, Shri Chidambaram said that the plea agreement should spur Pakistan to take action against all the conspirators of the 26.11 attacks. Following is the text of his statement.
“Yesterday, at the media briefing, I tried to explain the import of the ‘plea agreement’ between David Coleman Headley and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Later in the evening, Mr. Eric Holder, Attorney General and Head of the Justice Department of the US Government, called me and we had a long conversation. I am happy to state that the conversation has clarified a number of aspects concerning the plea agreement.
Mr Holder drew pointed attention to the following portion under the Chapter “Cooperation”:
Defendant agrees that, when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering intelligence or national security information. Defendant 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. Defendant agrees to the postponement of his sentencing until after the conclusion of his cooperation.”
It is my understanding that India would be able to obtain access to David Coleman Headley to question him in a properly constituted judicial proceeding. Such judicial proceeding could be either pre-trial or during an inquiry or trial. It is also my understanding that David Coleman Headley is obliged to cooperate fully and truthfully in such proceedings.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has already registered FIR No.4 dated 11.11.2009 against David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. I have today directed NIA and the other Agencies concerned in the case to quickly prepare the documents necessary to start a judicial proceeding in which Indian Authorities could require David Coleman Headley to answer questions and/or to testify.
There is another aspect of the “plea agreement” which is of enormous significance. The plea agreement is the most damning indictment of the role played by certain persons in Pakistan. In his plea agreement, David Coleman Headley has admitted to conspiring with LeT members A, B, C & D; he has admitted to meeting with and receiving instructions from them; he has admitted to attending training camps organised by the LeT on five separate occasions; he has admitted to meeting in Pakistan with various co-conspirators including but not limited to LeT members; and he has admitted to being privy to the attacks planned in Mumbai and the despatch of a team of attackers by sea.
Pakistan was in a state of denial for many months after the attacks of 26/11. Thereafter, grudgingly and bowing to the pressure applied by India through the dossiers and otherwise, Pakistan initiated proceedings against a few of the persons involved in the conspiracy, even while key conspirators are still at large. The “plea agreement” should spur Pakistan to take action against all the conspirators and bring them to justice. Nothing short of that will be acceptable to India or will satisfy world opinion.”