Court takes cognizance of NIA charge sheet

New Delhi: A Delhi court today took cognizance of the NIA charge sheet against Pakistani-American David Headley Coleman and eight others for allegedly carrying out several terror attacks in India.

The court has issued process to procure the presence of four accused, including Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for March 13.
Besides the four, the court has issued non bailable warrants returnable for March 13, against the other five accused named in the charge sheet.

The special NIA Judge H S Sharma had reserved its order on February 4 after hearing arguments of NIA on the charge sheet. The NIA had accused 51-year-old Headley, Rana, Lashker-e- Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and six others for planning and executing terror strikes in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Earlier, the NIA had told the court that Headley`s wife had congratulated him for the success of the November 26 terror attack in Mumbai. The agency said his wife had e-mailed Headley saying "he has graduated and she was proud of him" and that she had watched the show (attack) for the whole day.

The NIA prosecutor had said Headley did dry runs of several places in India before the 26/11 Mumbai attack and he had also gone to Pakistan several times where he also met Pakistan Army official Major Iqbal, co-accused in the case.

The NIA had on December 24 last year filed the voluminous charge sheet against Headley, Rana, Saeed and others. Headley and Rana are at present in the custody of the US authorities and the NIA has only got a limited access to Headley who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence.

Besides Major Iqbal, the NIA has also named another serving Pakistani Army officer, Major Sameer Ali, believed to be working for ISI along with Iqbal, in the chargesheet.

Al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley`s handler Sajid Malik and former Pakistani Army officer Abdul Rehman Hashmi were also named in the chargesheet for waging war against India and under other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The NIA had initially registered a case against Headley and Rana but after a thorough probe, seven other names were included in the case.The agency said Headley`s role in several terror strikes in the country was detailed in the chargesheet.

The chargesheet, which was filed after two years of probe by the central agencies, contained statements of 134 witnesses along with 210 documents and 106 e-mails.

The court also heard NIA`s arguments on an application under section 166A of the CrPC, seeking permission for a letter of request to the competent authority for investigation in Morocco. The charge sheet mentions the fake plea made by Rana to Indian authorities about Headley being a representative of his Immigration Law Centre.