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India assured access to Headley; how and when unclear

By The Assam Tribune

WASHINGTON, June 4 (IANS) - Even as External Affairs Minister SM Krishna Friday asserted that India has been assured of access to Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley, it was not clear how and when he would be questioned.

India had told the US that as Headley was one of the chief conspirators of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, "we

should get access so that our investigation would be complete," he said at a press conference at the conclusion of the India-US strategic dialogue.

"And I am sure the US respects that."

Asked whether this meant that an Indian team waiting in the US for last four days to question Headley was yet to get the promised access, Krishna said: "In investigations of this kind which are of a very sensitive nature, we can't go on spelling out day-to-day developments."

As an American citizen, Headley was entitled to invoke whatever safeguards that were available to him under the US legal system, and "we have to respect that as much as they respect the Indian judicial process," Krishna said when asked about reports that Headley's lawyer would be present during the questioning.

"We have been assured access and that process is on," he repeated when asked about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's response to his direct plea to her during the dialogue that providing access to Headley is "is perhaps the logical next step".

Asked if Clinton had spelled out the impediments in the way of providing access, Krishna repeated India had been assured access "and how that is going to be arranged within the legal framework of the US is being worked out" between the agencies of the two countries.

Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar interjected to say "India has been in touch with Attorney General Eric Holder and "these are being worked through". But "we have been assured access".

India has been seeking access to Headley, 49, currently lodged in a Chicago prison, to unravel the entire conspiracy surrounding the Mumbai attack that claimed 166 lives.

President Barack Obama had himself assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April that India would get direct access to Headley.

However, both Indian and US officials continue to be tight lipped about how and when a team from India's National Investigation Agency (NIA), currently camping in the US, would get to quiz Headley.

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India assured access to Headley; how and when unclear

WASHINGTON, June 4 (IANS) - Even as External Affairs Minister SM Krishna Friday asserted that India has been assured of access to Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley, it was not clear how and when he would be questioned.

India had told the US that as Headley was one of the chief conspirators of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, "we

should get access so that our investigation would be complete," he said at a press conference at the conclusion of the India-US strategic dialogue.

"And I am sure the US respects that."

Asked whether this meant that an Indian team waiting in the US for last four days to question Headley was yet to get the promised access, Krishna said: "In investigations of this kind which are of a very sensitive nature, we can't go on spelling out day-to-day developments."

As an American citizen, Headley was entitled to invoke whatever safeguards that were available to him under the US legal system, and "we have to respect that as much as they respect the Indian judicial process," Krishna said when asked about reports that Headley's lawyer would be present during the questioning.

"We have been assured access and that process is on," he repeated when asked about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's response to his direct plea to her during the dialogue that providing access to Headley is "is perhaps the logical next step".

Asked if Clinton had spelled out the impediments in the way of providing access, Krishna repeated India had been assured access "and how that is going to be arranged within the legal framework of the US is being worked out" between the agencies of the two countries.

Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar interjected to say "India has been in touch with Attorney General Eric Holder and "these are being worked through". But "we have been assured access".

India has been seeking access to Headley, 49, currently lodged in a Chicago prison, to unravel the entire conspiracy surrounding the Mumbai attack that claimed 166 lives.

President Barack Obama had himself assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April that India would get direct access to Headley.

However, both Indian and US officials continue to be tight lipped about how and when a team from India's National Investigation Agency (NIA), currently camping in the US, would get to quiz Headley.